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Jacob Henle 






The Medico-Historical Writings 



An historical and pharmacological study of 
Cannabis Indica, including observations and 


Biographic sketches of Galen, Aretaeus, Para- 
celsus, Servetus, Vesalius, Pare, Scheele, Cav- 
endish, Hunter, Jenner, Laennec, Simpson, 
Semmelweis, Schleiden and Schwann, Darwin. 


A chapter in the history of American medicine, 
containing information not elsewhere available. 


The first volume dealing with the history of 
Neo-Malthusianism in England and America. 


The first biography in the English language of 
one of the makers of modern medicine. 




Victor Robinson, M.D. 

Formerly Editor of the Medical Review of Reviews; 
Editor of Medical Life. 



Copyright 1921, by 
Medical Life 

Edition limited to five hundred copies 




Prefatory Note 

Cordial thanks are due Lieutenant-Colonel 
Fielding H. Garrison, of the Surgeon General's 
Office, for the circumspection with which he read 
this manuscript in spite of the inroads made 
upon his private leisure and for his courtesy in 
offering many helpful suggestions. 














If ever I had an inspiration, it was on the day when I first spoke to 
you about Jacob Henle. I explained that although he was one of the 
greatest medical scientists of modern times, practically nothing about 
his career had appeared in the English language. Not being a medical 
woman, you had never heard of Henle, and were naturally and properly 
bored. But since it is impossible for you to be unsympathetic, the sub- 
ject was again broached, and somehow we decided to "do Henle" as 
an experiment. Your share of the work was to consist in translating all 
the available German data, after which I was to use your translations 
as a basis for my own work. 

The first article you undertook happened to be desultory and tedi- 
ous, and after being engulfed in its discursiveness and battling with its 
technicalities, you would have abandoned your self-appointed task, but 
for two reasons; in the first place, you were probably curious to see 
what I could accomplish with such unpromising material; and in the 
second place, you are no shirker. So the work went on, and you trans- 
lated the notices by Leyden, Flemming, and Pagel, the essay by Wal- 
deyer, and Kussmaul's witty chapter in his Memoirs from the Youth of 
an Old Physician. By this time, the greatness of the man had grown 
upon us, and the experimental stage was over. 

In the foregoing sketches, there were several references to Merkel's 
comprehensive life of Henle, and it may appear strange that we had 
not yet come across this work, but the reason is simple: in no book- 
store or library in New York could this volume be obtained, and it 
became necessary to apply to the Surgeon-General's Office for this 
authoritative biography of one of medicine's noblest figures. 

When you opened Merkel, Henle was resurrected. The real en- 
thusiasm for Henle now began, and it added a new thrill to our lives. 
In those days, no friend spoke to us without first inquiring about Henle. 

With what devotion you entered into the work, and how vividly your 
comments and exclamations brought the man before me! When some 
characteristic trait or incident stirred you to speak about Henle, I en- 
tered his home, observed him in all moods, wondered at his versatility, 
watched the humorous corners of his mouth, saw the movements of his 
eyes, and learned to know his very mannerisms. 

In the following pages I have followed portions of your version 
more freely than I would feel warranted in doing if Merkel had ap- 
peared in English. For some unaccountable reason, however, this splen- 
did biography has remained untranslated until now, and the English- 
speaking profession is indebted to you for making accessible to them 
the life and letters of Jacob Henle. The field of medico-historical in- 
vestigation is my chosen work; there is rich reaping, and I do not know 
what abundant harvests I may yet find, but I never ask for a better 
yield than was gathered in the days when you and I did Henle. It was 
an unforgettable privilege to be associated with you in this work, and 
in dedicating this book to you, I feel that I am only returning what 
already belongs to you, for over every page of Merkel you cast the 
glamor of your own rare spirit. 


New York. 




Let us begin this chapter with a simple declarative sen- 
tence : The book of Genesis and the writings of Lester Ward 
do not always agree. 

According to the ancient author, man was created first 
and foremost, and later woman was fashioned to help the 
man but the modern writer says : 

The female is not only the primary and original sex but continues 
throughout as the main trunk, while to it a male element is afterward 
added. The male is therefore, as it were, a mere afterthought of 
nature. Moreover, the male sex was at first and for a long period, 
and still throughout many of the lower orders of beings, devoted 
exclusively to the function for which it was created, viz., that of fer- 
tilization. Among millions of humble creatures the male is simply 
and solely a fertilizer. 

But even among the highest creatures, nature needs the 
male for only a moment. When a child is born, its father 
may be in another country, or in the arms of a strange woman, 
or preoccupied, or dead. In the summer of 1809, when the 
Baiersdorf rabbi's daughter, Helene, gave birth to her son 
Jacob, no father stood at the bedside. Months passed, and 
still the growing infant did not learn that a father is a part 



of life's scheme. In the long evenings, the mother developed 
into an introspectionist, living her romance over and over, 
vividly recalling the most trifling incidents. 

She was a member of a large family with a slender purse 
which means that she early became a student of domestic 
science. Her proficiency in this branch evidently became 
known, for Helene was invited by her aunt, Frau Henle of 
Furth, to come to that flourishing little town and help to 
manage her household, which consisted of a husband and 
seven sons. If it be admitted that such a household requires 
expert management, it must further be acknowledged that a 
sprightly girl, in the midst of seven male cousins, is not apt 
to be neglected. The cousins appear to have wooed Helene 
en masse the elder ones with the ease which comes from 
experience, and the lad Wilhelm with the bashfulness of a 
first love. "Faint heart never won fair lady," has been dinned 
into our ears until it has become a platitude; indeed, certain 
sociologists gravely maintain that even the most civilized 
woman has a secret craving for the cave-man who comes 
a-wooing with a club but this is simply a picturesque theory, 
of value to writers of fiction. As a matter of fact, it often 
happens that the masterful courtship of practiced veterans 
cannot compete with the awkward devotion and mute adora- 
tion of a shy lover. Women appreciate modesty in their 
wooers, but no man is modest after his first conquest. 

When Helene and Wilhelm were betrothed, she was 
twenty-one, and he was eighteen hardly five feet high, with 
no money, and his school-books still on his desk. The uncer- 
tain future darkened unexpectedly, for the boy's father died 


suddenly, and through the legerdemain of unfaithful admin- 
istration the family estate vanished. So Wilhelm Henle put 
away his unfinished text-books, and went out into the world. 
In those days the shadow of Napoleon lay over Europe, 
and militarism was everywhere. Wilhelm, like many others, 
began his career by obtaining employment in the supply- 
department of the army. He had not the Midas-touch of a 
Rothschild, and no carrier-pigeons brought him fortunes from 
the air. But he hummed and whistled at his task, for the 
goal was clear before him. Wilhelm worked, while Helene 
waited and after six years they were married in Leipzig. 
Then the young husband hurried off to business, absenting 
himself for considerable periods, leaving his wife alone to 
enjoy the countless literary and musical associations of Ger- 
many's cosmopolis. But neither the high-pitched vault where 
John Sebastian Bach had played the organ, nor the house 
where Klopstock wrote passionate odes to his disdainful cousin 
Fanny, nor the Hof, unforgettably portrayed in Goethe's 
Faust, could save the bride from loneliness and homesickness. 
Amidst the distractions of myriad-minded Leipzig, she wept 
for her little room in Furth. 

She prevailed upon her husband to bring her back to the 
parental home, so that Jacob was born in Furth instead of 
Leipzig thus losing his opportunity to be Richard Wagner's 
town-brother. The event occurred during one of the mer- 
chant's business-trips, and he did not meet his offspring until 
nine months later. A mother loves her child at first sight, 
but a father must become acclimatized. When Wilhelm first 
looked at Jacob, he saw before him a dressed-up child instead 


of a naked fetus smeared with vernix caseosa, and yet he 
could not escape the initial shock which comes to so many 
fathers. He frankly pronounced the youngster ugly to the 
mother's amazement and dismay. But on closer inspection 
the critical sire modified his opinion to the extent of declaring 
the little fellow passable, and before again departing for busi- 
ness he had made the discovery that the sunshine lay in his 
baby's smile, and that his eyes were big and brown and 

Other children followed, and Jacob accepted it as a matter 
of course when he found himself surrounded by four sisters 
Marie, Rosalie, Johanne, and Helene. They developed 
under the direction of their mother, as the traveling father 
was not sufficiently familiar with the family to be its task- 
master. The father who is home nearly all the time naturally 
assumes the role of disciplinarian, but the father who visits 
his hearth at rare intervals is usually as indulgent as a grand- 
mother. It is among the traditions of the Henle family that 
Frau Helene was capable of serious procedure, yet seldom 
was compelled to resort to chastisement, as all the children, 
although lively, were gentle and easily managed, having in- 
herited their father's gracious nature. The most vivid recol- 
lection the Henle children retained of their father was his 
constant humming and whistling, for this merchant was a 
musical enthusiast. He was not a performer himself, but 
there were few operas or concerts which he missed, and after 
the first bars of any selection, he could finish the melody. 
Herr Henle cultivated business because it is necessary to live, 
but he didn't live until the opening notes of the overture. 


While Jacob Henle was growing up, Johann Peter Frank 
was growing old. The founder of modern public hygiene had 
reached eminence, but the ascent was terrible: when Frank 
was less than a year old, his inhuman father, enraged at his 
cries, threw him out of doors; the little outcast survived in- 
fancy, but at the age of four was almost murdered by some 
boys; at nine he was taken to Italy by the Piarists to be 
castrated because of his fine voice, but he escaped to write in 
indelible ink the name of Johann Peter Frank on the annals 
of German medicine. He climbed to the mountain-peaks of 
fame, but when he looked backward along the trail, the ghosts 
of his childhood memories arose, all tear-stained and blood- 
beclouded. How different was the childhood of Jacob Henle ! 
Guided by loving and discerning parents, he imbibed only the 
good and beautiful, ripening in an atmosphere of peace and 
culture and music. 

Moving day, although greatly dreaded by adults, is much 
relished by youngsters. Children are natural nomads, and 
delight in changing their habitats. During his sixth year, 
Jacob had the opportunity of informing his companions that 
he was going to move. Fiirth had become too limited for 
the Henles, and they were bound for Mainz the Rhine-city 
which gave the printing-press to mankind. In 1815, moving 
was not an art, and accompanied by a female servant, a pri- 
vate tutor, and their baggage, the Henles rolled along for 
many a weary day in a hackney-coach before they sighted the 
steeples of Mainz. 

Comfortable days followed, for the star of economic pros- 
perity shone over the Henles. They lived in a good house, 


employed a male servant, kept horse and carriage that badge 
of respectability discharged the private tutor and engaged 
better ones, among them being Monsieur Hugier, who is 
credited with laying the foundation of Jacob's excellent 
French. Jacob studied the violin under Kreuser and Marie 
took lessons on the piano, and soon brother and sister could 
play duets. It was found that Jacob inherited his father's 
musical memory, and could reproduce entire acts of even 
infrequently performed operas. His musical ability, however, 
could not overcome his boyish passion for noise, for among 
Jacob's earliest compositions is this appeal : 

Dear Mother, I have heard that there will be a beautiful per- 
formance and thinking that you will perhaps attend, I beg you to take 
me along. Herr Majot tells me that there will be fighting and shoot- 
ing, and you know this is my only joy. I hope that this is not a bold 
request; should you, however, not be in favor of it and should not 
consent, you may nevertheless count upon my sincere filial love. 
Your affectionate son, 


The parents had long planned the family's conversion 
to the dominant religion, one of their motives in leaving their 
native town being its essential Jewishness, Furth owing its 
prosperity to Jews who had fled from persecution in Nurem- 
berg. In Mainz it was easier to undergo Christian trans- 
formation, since it is the seat of a bishop. Having decided 
to become Christians, it was next necessary to decide what 
brand of Christian to become, whether Papist or Protestant, 


and then select the denomination. The two elder children, 
Jacob and Marie, had to write out the reasons for their choice, 
and there was much solemnity in the household but over 
the ceremony of changing one theology for another let us 
draw the charitable veil of silence. To discard the trammels 
of an outworn creed is splendid, and it is unfortunate when 
expediency requires the re-riveting of similar fetters. How- 
ever, we will close this episode by simply remarking that in 
his twelfth year, Jacob Henle passed through an experience 
which seldom befalls a rabbi's grandson he became a mem- 
ber of the evangelical faith. 

Business dictates where men should go, and when Herr 
Henle's affairs drew him toward the French border, the fam- 
ily contemplated removal to Coblenz. In order to make the 
preliminary arrangements, the father preceded his flock, and 
the mother prepared to follow under the protectorate of 
Jacob. The little man felt the importance of his office, and 
was keyed up with excitement over the prospect of the jour- 
ney. He thought the day of departure would never come, 
but it finally arrived, and caused Jacob Henle to wonder at 
the perverseness and unreasonableness of life. He did not 
feel well ; his leg was hot and it ached, but he tried to hide his 
condition, for he was afraid of having to remain at home, and 
he was resolved, boy-like, to enjoy himself at all hazards. 
The carriage rattled on, every moment intensifying the aching 
and the swelling. The mother, engrossed with her plans, 
failed to notice that her son was unnaturally subdued. At 
last Coblenz was reached, but Jacob did not jump down in 
eagerness. He could not walk, and it was necessary to carry 


him to bed, where he spent a night of suffering. So the day 
which was anticipated with joy, brought with it nothing but 

Dr. Settegast diagnosed the case as periostitis, and for 
weeks Jacob lay in Coblenz, while his mother kept traveling 
back and forth from Coblenz to Mainz, to divide her attention 
between her scattered brood. Professor Leydig, the foremost 
surgeon of Mainz, was summoned to Jacob's bedside, and 
eased the patient with an incision; another period of exile 
followed, and when Jacob was able to be conveyed to Mainz, 
Leydig removed the necrotic areas with favorable results, 
although recurring attacks of periostitis plagued Henle at 
spasmodic intervals throughout his career. During his pro- 
tracted convalescence, Jacob demonstrated Leydig's operation 
to his astonished sisters with the aid of his father's strop 
and a button-hook. Unfortunately, the invalid's recollection 
of the operation was vivid enough, for 1821 was in the pre- 
chloroformic days. 

Jacob's illness upset the family plans for a time, and it 
was not until 1824 that the Henles settled at Coblenz. Jacob 
was now fifteen, alive to everything, but interested chiefly 
in music and drawing. As he looked out of his new home, 
he saw a plain-looking house opposite. There was no gold 
within for thieves to steal, yet its unpretending walls held 
priceless treasures. Many youths and certain elders passed 
that humble door-step with desire, and accounted it a privilege 
to be permitted entrance. That rickety stairway led the 
pilgrim to a shrine, for here dwelt Herr Zeiller and his five 
charming daughters. 


The blend of male and female voices was often heard in 
that home, mingling with the voice of the violin and piano, 
for the lives of the Zeillers were consecrated by music. Nat- 
urally the Henles drifted in , and the two families were 
mutually delighted with each other, passing many wonderful 
hours in song and play. 

Among those who visited the Zeillers was a cobbler's son 
who neither sang nor played; sometimes his eyes flashed, 
but he seldom spoke or smiled; yet he came whenever he 
could, and watched Nanni Zeiller. Johannes Miiller looking 
at Nanni Zeiller science worshipping beauty. 

Nanni's younger sister, the fascinating Malchen, had many 
admirers ; she and Jacob formed the habit of singing together, 
and the world will not be surprised to hear that the young 
man's passion for music was complicated by a passion for 
Malchen. One of the symptoms of love is the desire to 
bestow gifts upon the object of adoration, but a boy's purse 
and his impulses are usually at variance, and Jacob was 
reduced to the necessity of stealing his mother's blossoming 
plant which he presented to Malchen with the cautious stipu- 
lation not to place it upon a window fronting the street. 
In return, Malchen brought him a plateful of dumplings, but 
it is not stated whether he was enjoined to eat these in secret. 
Jacob's record in mathematics and the classics now suffered 
a decline, but the blissful hours spent with his first sweet- 
heart compensated him for lowered scholarship. 

The lad looked forward to the summer as the time when 
release from school would give him more leisure for Malchen, 
but in the summer his idyl was over. For Malchen, lovely 


but poor, was abruptly engaged to marry a gentleman, elderly 
but rich. Young Henle now passed through a period familiar 
to so many adolescents, when a feeling of suffocation clutches 
the heart and the grey world is all ennui, when the brooding 
melancholy of the oppressive day is followed by the deeper 
anguish of the endless night, and to the memory of lost pleas- 
ures is added the realization that these joys have vanished 

In this stage, much of the world's poetry is born, and 
Henle wrote this lamentation to the summer: 

Summer, thou hast taken from me 
All my happiness, 

And brought me nothing 

But sadness and sorrow. 

Shall I rejoice with the swallows 

Who returned to us, 

When a beautiful bird 

Has flown from me forever? 

Sing, O sing, thou nightingale, 

Sing your songs in the bushes; 

The sound of one sweet voice 

1 shall never hear again. 
Shalt thou, sweet air of spring, 
Caress me with thy flowery fragrance? 
Sweeter than all the flowers' scent, 
Was the breath of my sweet one. 

O heavens, with your azure blue, 
Cover yourselves with rainy clouds! 
For her eyes too swam in tears, 
When our ways were parted. 


What care I for the green forest, 

Since no longer she walks beside me? 

Can I enjoy the flowery meadow, 

When she is no longer with me? 

O Summer, thou hast taken from me 

All my happiness; 

O thou cruel summertime 

Hadst thou never, never come! 

Many other lamentations fell from the sufferer's pen, and 
Henle closed the cycle of his love-songs with this dirge to 
the flames : 

To the Fire do I consecrate my songs, 
Which I sang in my happy days; 
With each spark that goes out, 
My sweet hopes go to their graves. 
So burnt my heart in bright flames 
For Thee; thou scornedst it, then it broke; 
When, oh when, will come the time 
Which will disperse its ashes? 

On the day of Malchen's wedding, Henle's tortured spirit 
would not permit him to remain in town, and he received 
his parents' permission to visit some of his friends in Mainz. 
A boy's love is acute, but rarely fatal, and Henle recovered. 
With the re-opening of school he returned calmly to his 
benches, and graduated peacefully. 

At eighteen, he stood at the cross-roads of life, undecided 
which way to turn. His friend, Ludwig Lindenschmitt, who 
even then was an antiquarian enthusiast, urged the talented 
youth to study the Germanic authors, and become their his- 


torian. Henle was impressed with this suggestion, but he 
thought too of law, and was also inclined to become a preacher. 
At this critical juncture, Johannes Miiller again crossed the 
young man's path, and the decision was made. Not litera- 
ture, nor jurisprudence, nor theology, but medicine was to be 
Jacob Henle's life-work. 



In the autumn of 1827, Jacob Henle matriculated at the 
University of Bonn he was no longer a boy at home, but an 
academic citizen. The day after his arrival in the university 
town, he received a dinner-invitation from Johannes Miiller 
and his wife for Johannes Miiller had not looked at Nanni 
Zeiller in vain. Their housekeeping was unpretentious, as the 
professor's salary was meagre, and Nanni's dowry was nothing 
but a song-book. They plied Henle with questions about the 
folks in Coblenz, and were very friendly. After dinner, Henle 
and Frau Nanni sang together and perhaps he thought of 
the days when he used to sing with Nanni's sister. Reticent 
and introspective, Johannes Miiller was a man apart; he did 
not join in the festivities held in his home, but his face lit up 
when he heard his wife singing. Henle came frequently, relish- 
ing the scientific talks with Miiller, and the duets with Nanni. 

Henle thoroughly enjoyed his introduction to university 
life: he subscribed for a season-ticket to the theatre, became 
expert in dancing, took riding lessons, and never refused to 
attend an affair that promised to be jolly. He was proud of his 
social debut, and wrote to Marie : 



Can you imagine, dear heart, little Jacob in a frock coat and cravat, 
holding a teacup gracefully, alone among seven ladies, conversing 
politely about balls in Bonn and Coblenz can you imagine your 
stiff brother like this, at Professor Treber's? I did not feel exactly 
comfortable as long as there was no other masculine being in the 
room, but I was sufficiently composed to bow properly, and without 
dropping anything or smashing any crockery, I managed to sip 
down two cups of tea. 

Even in the midst of accident, Henle exhibited a serene 
countenance to society. Once, while standing up and convers- 
ing vivaciously with the lady of the house, his piece of cake 
fell from the cup and saucer which he was holding in his 
hand. In stooping to recover the delicacy, the treacherous 
spoon also fell. Instead of being flustered and offering a thou- 
sand apologies Henle said to the hostess, "Now that the cake 
and spoon are already on the floor, may I place my cup there 
also?" and thus the situation was saved by laughter. 

Henle was among those scheduled for Professor Bischoff's 
grand ball, but he found his raiment inadequate for the occa- 
sion. His comrades came to the rescue, and from one he bor- 
rowed a hat, another loaned him a cravat, a third came forward 
with a collar, and a fourth furnished a vest. It always rains 
at the wrong time, and Henle hesitated to expose his faultless 
outfit to the Bonnian mud and the threatening weather. A 
fifth friend, however, permitted Henle to mount his back, and 
off they went in the darkness of the night. Any honest horse 
would have halted in front of Bischoff's house, but this human 
steed refused to drop his rider and galloped with him among 
the assembled guests, creating what he expected a sensation. 

Henle joined the famous student society, the Burschen- 
schaft, and the members hailed the merchant's son with joy. 
They liked his tobacco, and smoked his cigars; they ordered 


coffee at his expense, and showed a preference for his beer and 
wine; they praised his ham, and were enthusiastic over his 
sausages. In fact, Henle found himself so popular, that he 
soon withdrew from the Burschenschaft, and expected to hear 
no more of it. 

College life appears to be unusually expensive, for noth- 
ing is more characteristic of students than the persistency with 
which they write home for money. Some students are prosaic, 
and simply say they need more money for food and rent, while 
others are inventive and announce they require an extra al- 
lowance to purchase a celiac axis. As evidence that Henle was 
a regular fellow, let us submit the following document which 
he transmitted to his parents : 

MoneyS Money! Money! I have nothing, and I owe my friend 
Mathieu ten dollars. Money! I paid forty-six dollars for tuition, 
much for books, and twenty dollars for housekeeping. Money! Other- 
wise things are well with me, but Money! Money! Money! Last 
Sunday I visited Muller who grows more congenial and friendly 
from day today. He gave me some good advice. I remained there 
until evening. Professor Pugge, with his wife of eight days who 
has a very nice voice, came in the afternoon and invited me. But 
Money! Money! Yesterday evening I visited Pugge, where I met many 
fashionable students, and the professor's parents-in-law, Hasse and 
his wife Hasse is one of the most prominent Jurists here. I sang sev- 
eral songs with the lady of the house and remained until half past ten. 
I also made the acquaintance of Prof. Hasse's son, a young man of my 
age, and Fuchs too, I learned to know. I think we shall become friends. 
Money! Money! 

You see now that I could live here in dulci jubilo if only I had 
money, only Money! Money! but quick! Although I am screaming 
for money, I must also write about something else. I really cannot 


use my cloak, and when I assure you of this, you will simply have 
to trust me and take my word for it. I need eight yards and a fur 
collar. When you send this, also send a pair of shoes, also my 
calendar which I left at home by mistake, a few pounds of sugar 
for the evening tea, and a good Mainz ham. But above all Money! 
Also forward to me Biot's Experimental Physics in four volumes. 
The next time I shall write you about the university. Money! Money! 
Money! Cloth! Fur Collar! Calendar! Biot's Physics! Ham! Sugar! 
Money! Money! Money! Money! Ham! Money! Cloth! Money! 
Fur Collar! Money! Calendar! Money! Physics! Money! Sugar! 
Money. Your eternally loving, Jacob. 

While we were recording instances of Henle's social suc- 
cess, a suspicion might have been born in the reader's mind 
that the matriculant was unfaithful to the curriculum. The 
passageway to medicine is through the labyrinth of anatomy, 
and many turn away in despair, but Henle entered with ease. 
He wrote his parents: 

I derive so much pleasure from these studies that I cannot un- 
derstand how my good genius permitted me to waver so long, be- 
fore it brought me upon the right path. What others regard as dry 
stuff such as the necesary, thorough and almost minute observation of 
all the parts fills me with astonishment and joyous admiration of 
the manner in which it leads up with one end in view, even in thj 
smallest particulars. I know of no better food for imagination than 
the beautiful formation of the human body, constructed of indi 
vidual bones and muscles, which I know accurately and can pu- 
together. I know I shall learn something sensible, I shall positively 
not be a bungler. 

From the first, he began to think anatomically and physi- 
ologically ; in the second semester he illustrated Miiller's work 
on glands, and became active in the master's laboratory. 


Vacation time approached, but instead of packing his be- 
longings, Henle lay in bed with a wounded cheek. As a duel- 
ist he was not a success. It is true, he was once victorious, but 
as he stood there with legs apart, proudly lowering his rapier, 
its point pierced his shoe and cut his foot. When Henle finally 
presented himself at home, nothing seemed so conspicuous 
about him as the schmisse; his parents were horrified and did 
not permit the mutilated student to show himself in the streets 
of Coblenz. For the first time in his life, Henle felt the weight 
of parental wrath his mother was especially shocked and 
angry although it is difficult to see how a German student 
could have avoided the inevitable mensuren. Saint-Beuve once 
fought a duel under an umbrella, but Henle found himself 
under a cloud. Perhaps if he had been more lucky, his parents 
would have been less indignant. At any rate, there was a rift 
in the Henle lute, and with impatience the household awaited 
the coming of the new semester which would call the student 
away to new duties. 

Henle continued his studies at Heidelberg, and was de- 
lighted with his teachers: Naegele, whose description of the 
obliquely contracted pelvis one of his specimens was that of 
an Egyptian mummy is still known as the Naegele pelvis; 
Chelius, who introduced the surgical and opthalmological clin- 
ics into Heidelberg, and whose Handbook of Surgery was 
translated into six languages and reprinted many times with- 
out criticism until Stromeyer pointed out that it didn't contain 
a single original idea; Puchelt, who adhered to the School of 
Natural Philosophy, and whose reputation disappeared with 
the School ; Arnold, after whom a dozen structures have been 


named, such as Arnold's canal, Arnold's ganglion, Arnold's 
nerve; Tiedemann, who was Heidelberg's first professor of 
anatomy and physiology, but whose chief claim to remem- 
brance is perhaps the monograph on digestion which he wrote 
in collaboration with Gmelin. 

Anatomy was Henle's favorite subject. He prepared ani- 
mal and human specimens, frequently corresponding with 
Miiller, who stimulated his young friend by keeping him 
informed of his work and writings. Henle practised assidu- 
ously in the clinics, and experienced the felicity of being called 
Herr Doctor by charity patients. He tried out his first blood- 
letting on a female, and relates that although on account of 
the roundness of her arms the veins were hardly visible, yet 
he completed his venesection without any misfortune. After 
having cupped three times, he permitted himself to cherish 
the hope that if he should fail in medicine, he could be a suc- 
cessful bathkeeper. 

A medical student is apt to complain that his course con- 
sists of an excess of quizzes and a scarcity of clinics, but Henle 
wrote : 

The professors surpassed my expectations in diligence, polite- 
ness and affability, and everyone under whom I study understands 
his subject thoroughly. However, I have no occasion to regret that 
I did not come here earlier, for while the practical end isl well rep- 
resented, the preparatory and theoretical courses are poor. Without 
laying a scientific foundation, everyone rushes into practice, and 
the results of this superficial and empirical method will come to the 
surface as soon as the guiding hand of the teacher is withdrawn. 
The machine-like prescription-writing is certainly not our highest 
goal, and whatever such a mechanical man appropriates through many 


years of experience can soon be equalled if we are willing to seek 
reason and ground. This is the only way by which we will be able 
to accomplish something independent, and will not be compelled to 
follow blindly what others tell us from their experience. The prac- 
titioner who is merely concerned about practice, may through some 
luck and savoir faire, attain a decent income, but he will never ac- 
complish anything for his science, and I do not call him fortunate, 
who is satisfied with just that. 

Toward the end of his stay in Heidelberg, irresolution 
again assaulted Henle. Vacation arrived, and he was still 
undetermined whether to plan a clinical or academic career, 
but he expressed his indecision charmingly: 

I am still undecided regarding my future. Much draws me to 
the practical, especially the position of a physician who knows how 
to make friends and inspire confidence. On the other hand, I have 
the knowledge that I can pursue the career of a teacher, and to sit 
in a lecturer's chair with believing open-mouthed youngsters in 
front of me, devouring with pointed pens every word as though it 
were an oracle, and laughing at every poor joke which I surely will 
not fail to make ex officio this is not a bad picture. But the years 
of a privat docent! the years of dependence and huddling! and on 
the other hand, the seven first lean years of practice! In short, I 
am and remain undecided. 

In such a crisis, Johannes Miiller was the man to whom to 
appeal, but the inspired teacher was away in the land of 
Leeuwenhoek and Swammerdam. Upon Miiller's return, just 
before the re-opening of classes, Henle hastened to his mentor, 
and laid his problems before him. There was no wavering in 
Miiller's devotion to pure science ; in the presence of a talented 
youth, his flaming enthusiasm swept aside all hesitation and 
Henle followed Miiller to Bonn, with the settled purpose of 


dedicating his life to anatomico-physiological research. The 
comfort that comes from resolution is evident from Henle's 
communication to his parents : 

Recently I had the good fortune of making an anatomical dis- 
covery, which when I introduce it into the medical world, will 
make for me somewhat of a name. Miiller to whom I spoke of it 
is much pleased and he confirms my opinion, so I may now call him 
as witness. If Miiller goes to Paris this fall, as he expects to, I 
shall make my further investigations and write down my findings 
partly in Coblenz, and am looking forward with much pleasure to 
spending several weeks with you. 

Since my arrival here, I have become convinced that I should 
take up the teaching profession. Since my renewed intercourse with 
Miiller, my desire for anatomy, which I will be able to pursue only 
as decent, has awakened once more. I find that I know much 
more about it than I gave myself credit for, and the investigations 
which I conduct upon Muller's instigation convince me that I do not 
lack talent. Furthermore, there are other conditions which draw 
me to this career. First, Muller's friendship, which can be of so 
much help to me. Second, I can make good use of my skill 
in drawing. Third, although I cannot deny that it will take some 
years before I become independent, yet I need not hurry especially. 
And now, that I have once more gained self-reliance, and hope to 
accomplish something worth while, I also have the courage to ask 
for your parental love. Fourth, I see too, how my entire being in- 
clines me more and more to the life of an instructor. I am daily 
growing more sedate, more quiet, more one-sided, and am losing 
more and more the qualities necessary to the practical physician. 
I should not like to choose a profession that would make it necessary 
for me to take off my dressing-gown before eleven o'clock in the 
morning and allow my pipe to go out. Fortunately, I find the 
other reasons which I am giving you conclusive enough, otherwise 




you might blame this last one for my decision. Finally, there is not 
a single one of my acquaintances, either wise or unwise, who does 
not recognize my plan as a very good one, while Miiller greets my 
decision with hearty joy. 

Now that I am clear regarding this important question, I have 
decided to remain here over this winter. The reason for this I 
need not explain 'to you. The rich clinics in Berlin do not attract 
me any more; I intend to devote myself exclusively to anatomical 
studies and researches, and where can I do it better than here? I 
can do my work under the very eyes of Miiller, and call upon him for 
advice whenever I am in the slightest doubt; his instruments, micro- 
scopes and books are entirely at my disposal. 

I am also on good terms with Weber, and he has already spoken 
to me about some preparations for his lectures, and in return has 
promised me as much material for dissection as I need. I am 
therefore looking forward to a very pleasant period, where I can 
lay aside all examination-studies, and busy myself entirely with my 
favorite occupations. In the morning I shall do anatomy, the after- 
noon I shall devote to dissection, either 'for myself or for Miiller, 
and in the evening I shall read. I cannot tell you with what expecta- 
tions I am looking forward to this time. And still more. Miiller 
proposed to me material upon which I can work and perhaps submit 
to a Journal; in fact, Miiller asked my co-operation in a larger work, 
which it would not be advisable for one person to perform, and then 
I shall allow myself to be led into the world by "him and shall hang 
my name to his, and let him drag me along. This is all really too 
beautiful, and I don't know iwhether I am right in telling you every- 
thing, as I myself fear that Fate will not permit me so much bliss. 

My life plan, at present, is as follows: At the beginning of 
vacation, I contemplate taking my doctor's examination; during vaca- 
tion I shall write my dissertation, and around Christmas I will 
permit the doctor's cap to be placed upon my head. I shall stay 
here throughout this winter and work hard, and after Easter I shall 


go to Berlin to prepare for the State Examination. I shall next look 
for a place and try to advance as rapidly as possible, then shall 
marry a young, beautiful, wise and rich girl, who speaks French, 
plays the piano and knows how to manage horses. 

Now I beg you to let me have your opinion regarding these 
plans. If I, perhaps, am a little broad or confused in my explana- 
tions, you must forgive me, for I am writing this note in the class 
of Professor Bischoff, whose monotonous phrases ring into my ears 
from time to time. 

The keen edge of remorse over wasted hours never cuts 
more deeply than on the student's day of reckoning the day 
of final examinations. But destiny is not always decided in 
class rooms. A student who passes his examinations magna 
cum laude is not necessarily successful in the postgraduate 
school of life. What happens to all the valedictorians? Many 
of them become employees of men who failed in college. It 
would be piquant to recite a list of celebrated individuals who 
were the despair of their forgotten teachers. Nevertheless, it 
should not be considered discreditable to pass with the highest 
marks. An examiner who perused Henle's papers, expressed 
himself to the effect that during his lifetime he had not seen 
their equal, and Johannes Miiller was so impressed that he 
invited the brilliant graduate to accompany him on his long- 
planned visit to Paris. 

It is a prize platitude to say that there is something about 
a trip to Paris which appeals to everyone. It is not difficult, 
therefore, to imagine Henle's joy; he was naturally of an en- 
thusiastic temperament, and to travel with Miiller was the 


rarest of privileges. Arrived in Paris, the two Germans con- 
versed only in French, and swelled the applause at numerous 
operas and theatres. Henle was not pleased with the French 
that is, with the male portion, but he chanted paens of praise 
for the French girls, asserting that in grace, dress and poise, 
they could serve as models for all Europe. 

At Miiller's approach, the laboratories and cabinets of 
the French naturalists opened in welcome. Cuvier, who was 
then the potentate of French science, placed his own work- 
room at the disposal of Miiller and Henle. Miiller, who 
achieved immortality on a frog's back, had proved the cor- 
rectness of the Bell-Magendie theory of the spinal nerve-roots, 
and he invited several distinguished Frenchmen to witness his 
demonstration. Alexander von Humboldt, who was in Paris 
at the time, was also invited, and Henle, who of course as- 
sisted in the experiments, has left us this glimpse of his illus- 
trious countryman: 

Humboldt has gone again bien satisfait des jolies manoeuvers 
which we had the honor to perform before him. He claimed to be 
delighted at having made my acquaintance, which, probably, was 
just prattle, and he told me the story of a young man, whom I 
didn't know, that he had married, regarding which I expressed in- 
human joy. At the end he left five francs, most probably a tip for 
me. I, however, brought the money proudly back to him, and in 
return for this I received my handkerchief, which he pocketed by 
oversight. He brought with him a number of other prominent sci- 
entists, whom I now know personally, and upon my return to Bonn, 
I shall have something to boast of. You should have seen the way 
we fixed up our poor room for the reception of these important 


guests. First of all we put everything in order. But then we 
found that a hole in a chair, there a tear in the table-cover, had 
to be covered with books, and so we chose the system of artistic 
disorder, as we preferred to appear careless rather than poor; it 
of course would have been differently arranged, if dear mother had 
announced that she would visit us. His Honor, the Minister, was 
placed upon an armchair covered with red flowered velvet cloth, 
the other gentlemen on similar chairs only filled with feathers, so 
their dignity might sink a little deeper. Miiller and I camped on 
two cane chairs, which together numbered seven legs. We two 
were dressed entirely in black, including our linens, as our femme 
blanchisseuse disappointed us perfidement. 

Upon his return to Bonn, Henle worked with such dili- 
gence upon his doctor's thesis that some of his friends were 
neglected but when evening came, he found time to sing 
with Frau Nanni. Henle's increasing intimacy with Miiller 
may be sensed from certain passages in his description of 
his graduating exercises: 

Graduation has occurred, and was very solemn. I appeared in 
Muller's breeches and my own calves, which excited general admira- 
tion The dissertation met with much approval, and I myself, 

am satisfied with it. As I remarked, I am getting always friendlier 
with Miiller, and our mutual tenderness is reaching the stage of mush. 

Instead of the usual graduation dissertation an academic 
review of ancient and modern opinions on a given subject 
Henle presented his teachers a research-essay based on his 
own dissections of the optic membranes in man and various 
animals. Henle's De membrana pupillari aliisque oculi membranis 
pillucentibus was not a thesis wrung from an unwilling student 
by the exigencies of graduation, but a contribution to science 
that foretokened a future discoverer. 



One obstacle still lay in Henle's path the State Exami- 
nation. The young man sighed as he thought of it, for this 
meant an enforced renewal of his acquaintance with subjects 
which no longer interested him symptoms, diagnosis and 
treatment. Dr. Henle had nothing to do with practical medi- 
cine. The clinic was now foreign territory to him his home 
was the laboratory. Besides, the State Examination could 
be taken only in Berlin, and thus it was necessary to part from 
Miiller, whose note of farewell lay before him: 

It is true, then, my dear Henle, that you are to go. I miss 
your dear society, but I know that you have left us that you may 
progress further. I hope to hear from you real often. I shall cer- 
tainly not let you wait for an answer. Go then, accompanied by 
a thousand good wishes and by our love, and return to us the same 
affectionate friend. 

Henle entered Berlin a stranger, but armed with Miiller's 
letters of introduction to such scientists as Rudolphi, Schlemm, 
Dieffenbach and Romberg; from his father, Henle carried 
letters to commercial and juristic groups. A man who relies 
upon letters of introduction for his friendships, is apt to be 
solitary but Henle was always a social animal. Merkel says 



that when Henle was a short time in Berlin, the circle of his 
acquaintances changed considerably, for the families to whom 
he had been recommended, receded into the background, and 
the friends he found for himself, stepped into their places. 

Among these friends was a certain Fraulein whose charms 
effaced the memory of Malchen. It is asserted that Henle was 
infatuated at first sight "a glance from her was lightning and 
j. thunderbolt at the same time" and he was fully determined 
to ask her in marriage as soon as he obtained an income. Some 
women wait, and others don't. While Henle wooed and post- 
poned, a landed proprietor wooed and proposed with the 
usual success of wealthy men. This was Henle's second shock, 
but Wertherism was antiquated, and suicide did not follow. 
On the contrary, within a short time he wrote that he experi- 
enced the sensations of a bird on a branch who peeps into the 
room where stands his late cage. 

Another friend of this period was Felix Mendelssohn. It 
was Henle's privilege to witness the origin and development 
of some of his compositions, and the musician became so at- 
tached to the scientist, that when he passed through Coblenz, 
he paid a special visit to Henle's family. Sister Marie's talent 
for music eclipsed even her brother's, and Mendelssohn en- 
chanted her with a private performance of the overture to 
Midsummer Night's Dream, which he had composed in his 
seventeenth year, and which carried him to fame's pinnacle. 
Some years later, Henle and Mendelssohn might have been 
related by marriage, but when Henle proposed to one of the 
Mendelssohn girls, he discovered she was already secretly 


In spite of the imposing examination which loomed before 
him, Henle entered into the social life of Berlin with zest. He 
was always good company; he could chat superficially on 
trivial topics, knew how to play whist with the ladies, how to 
drink tea leisurely, and how to smoke a pipe comfortably. 

He would have been content, if only Miiller could have 
been with him and then, with dramatic suddenness, Miiller 
did come to Berlin, for Rudolphi, the professor of anatomy and 
physiology in the University of Berlin, unexpectedly died, and 
Johannes Miiller was appointed his successor, thus becoming, 
in his early thirties, the central figure of German 
medicine. Miiller and Henle hailed each other with joy and 
a renewal of their friendship meant a renewal of work. 
Miiller now founded his epoch-making Archives of Anatomy, 
Physiology, and Scientific Medicine, familiarly called Miiller's 
Archiv, which was the most influential journal of its kind 
until displaced by the periodical founded by one of Miiller's 
pupils Virchow's Archiv. Henle's name appeared conspicu- 
ously in the prospectus of Miiller's Archiv; he was, in fact, 
the managing editor. Miiller drew Henle still closer to him 
by appointing him his assistant at the anatomical museum. 
Henle went through the state examination without mishap, and 
soon celebrated his release by writing articles for medical dic- 
tionaries and encyclopedias, and by immersing himself in 

Now that Henle was a teacher, every academic upheaval 
interested him he might be appointed. When Ratke was called 
from Dorpat to Halle, as successor to the deceased Meckel, 
Henle reasoned as follows : 


Through this the professorship in Dorpat is open, and as Russia 
likes to recruit from here, and as there is hardly a surplus of physi- 
ologists, it is possible that I will get the place at Dorpat. 

While waiting for a stray professor's chair, Henle deemed 
it expedient to utilize his artistic talent by offering his ser- 
vices to the academy of art, and he wrote his parents an ac- 
count of his adventures in pursuit of this position : 

I was glad to give you pleasure by my appointment as prosector, 
especially as the joyous expectation of the other post may not be 
realized. I shall have to tell you the entire procedure, so not to 
have you think that I am as frivolous as may appear. When the 
place became vacant about three months ago, I foresaw but one 
who could contest it with me, and that was my friend Froriep. I 
went to him and spoke as Abraham spoke to Lot: If you wish 
to apply for this position, let us not be enemies; you have the quali- 
fications for it, you are a good draughtsman and a pater familias, 
and therefore, I shall step aside, although I have been requested to 
apply. My behavior at the time was considered noble. After much 
controversy Froriep wrote to his father it must be said a real poli- 
tician who advised him not to apply that is, never mind the 400 
thalers. Froriep confessed to me that he was heartily pleased over 
this, as he need not consider the income, and the work at the 
academy would distract him. I apply and all is well. I leave, I 
return, I inquire, and Privy Councellor Schultz, Professor Rauch, 
and Director Schadow, all assure me that I will be successful. Only 
the matter proceeds slowly, for the Minister needs time, as always. 
All of a sudden, old Froriep appears, calls upon the Minister and 
the Councellors, and my friend sadly informs me that he is com- 
pelled to make an application for the post 

My view of the affair, as f ar ;as I am able to judge, is this: old 
man Froriep informs the authorities that his son has been professor 


for three years, and still receives no salary. The Minister recognizes 
his complaint as Just, and even if he does not, he agrees with old 
Froriep, with whom he is on good terms. The Minister, however, 
as always, has no money to dispose of. Then he reminds himself 
of the yet unfilled post at the academy of art, with 400 thalers at- 
tached. I, the only applicant, am a young unmarried man, who has 
just entered into State service, and already has a salary of 500 
thalers, and I ought to be satisfied with this. The academy's 400 
may be utilized to stop the mouth of some one else for the time 
being, and Papa Froriep brings home with him a request and, most 
probably, a promise of success. Whether it is right for Froriep to 
take back his promise and compete with me, I shall not try to judge. 
If it is a crooked way, then it is the old man's fault, and 'I have set 
my pride upon it, that our friendship shall not be shattered on this 
rock. I told Froriep that I shall pursue my course as I have begun, 
as I may be able to use even a negative answer for the future. I 
have not, however, attempted to use any subterranean means, and 
our applications lay fraternally together before the Minister. You 
can readily understand that under these circumstances there is little 
hope for me. 

My relationship with Mttller is such as I imagined it, and that 
is saying a great deal, as I imagined something very beautiful. I 
always seek to do more than is expected of me. ... I see more and 
more, what an invaluable treasure, the tested friendship of this ex- 
cellent man really is. I now have an assistant, r in the person of 
little Friedlander, whom you know. He assists me with my work 
when necessary and in return for this, he enjoys my special instruc- 
tion in dissection, and in return for this again I enjoy an occasional 
dinner with his parents. He is very industrious and modest, and I 
think we shall be satisfied with each other. 

The diplomacy of the elder Froriep was successful, and 
Henle reported to his parents : 


The academic affair is finally decided, and it has brought me a 
great deal of disquietude and some pleasure. I realized very soon 
that this was not the time to indulge in high-minded sentiments, and 
without giving myself any false hopes, I determined to bring my 
competition with Froriep into the open. I, therefore, submitted my 
drawings to the academy, and personally called upon the individual 
members of the senate, and found that they were unanimously in 
my favor, as they considered me especially qualified for the post, and 
they requested the Minister to appoint me. 

In the meantime, the Minister, paying no attention to their wishes, 
appointed Froriep temporarily. The entire academy resents this act, 
and there is talk of protest. That of course would be futile, as 
the Minister will not alter his decision. It is, however, enough 
satisfaction to me, and in other respects may prove very useful, as 
you can readily see that the Minister will have to make good this 
injustice done to me. In fact, when I called upon him recently, he 
was very cordial and promised to see to it that I should better my 
position through a more scientific occupation, than that which was 
recently vacant at the art academy. According to this, I can even 
demand an extraordinary professorship, and that certainly would 
be more advantageous to me than the little distracting by-office. 
On the whole, I can say that my old luck has not deserted me. I 
gained, if not in money, in prestige, and I can step forth with un- 
sullied pride, side by side with my successful competitor, and the 
fact that our friendly relationship has not suffered through this 
affair, is something which, all who know the circumstances, count 
in my favor. Miiller says he is glad for his and my sake that I did 
not appeal, and that too is of importance. 

When Henle applied to the authorities for formal habili- 
tation as privat decent, he expected a routine confirmation in 
due course of time. In reply he received an unpleasant re- 
minder that he was an ex-Burschenschafter, and he was in- 


formed that his political past was under investigation. This 
attitude of the State was entirely unexpected, and filled Henle 
and his parents with consternation. But a calm review of the 
situation relieved their panic, for they saw no genuine reason 
for alarm. Of course, the present misunderstanding was dis- 
turbing, but after all, Henle's participation in the Bonn Bursch- 
enschaft had been so slight, his exit so speedy, his subsequent 
devotion to science so complete, and his career so promising, 
that it was unthinkable that he should be condemned to any 
punishment severer than a reprimand. 

But society must be saved, and church and state must 
be protected, and prosecutors must prosecute and there- 
fore the criminal inquiry proceeded apace. As the evidence 
was being sifted, exciting rumors leaked through the sieve: 
one day the academic circles of Berlin heard that both Miiller 
and Henle had been arrested, but those who sought veri- 
fication of the story, found the professor and his prosector 
at work in the Anatomical Museum. After a comparative lull, 
Henle would persuade himself that danger was over until 
the sudden imprisonment of one friend after another, no more 
guilty than himself, stirred new terror in his heart. During 
this unsettled period, torn between hope and fear, uncertain 
whether the morrow would find him a state teacher or a 
state prisoner, Henle's scientific output was naturally dimin- 
ished, but he produced at least one essay which won the en- 
thusiastic admiration of Alexander von Humboldt. 

In the meantime, there came to Henle, a friendly and 
highly respectful letter, from the Ministry of Dorpat, offering 


him the professorship of human and comparative anatomy, 
zoology, physiology, general pathology, and pathological anat- 
omy. However, there was compensation for this work, for 
the letter explained that after twenty-five years of service, 
the professor is retired with full salary, "which he may spend 
where he pleases," and after his death, his widow receives 
a pension. 

The latter item held little lure for a bachelor, and Henle's 
reply was indefinite. Early in the morning of the second of 
July, 1835, as Henle lay comfortably in bed, dreaming per- 
haps of the Dorpat proposition, unexpected visitors entered 
his room. In that summer dawn, they affixed seals to the 
door, and took Henle with them. Throughout the day, Miiller 
waited in vain for his prosector, for he had been transferred 
to the most famous institution in Berlin the Hausvogtei. 
His cell swarmed with vermin, there was nothing to read ex- 
cept the Bible, no one came to see him, and he did not have 
a cigar. 

A landlady is usually ubiquitous, but unfortunately, the 
sympathetic Frau Hegel failed to live up to the tradition ; when 
the police arrested Henle, instead of being present, she was 
out of town, and the deed was witnessed only by the servant- 
girl. Now this servant-girl, in spite of her humble position, 
possessed a mind corresponding with that of certain eminent 
jurists she recognized no distinction between a political 
prisoner and a common prisoner. She knew that no good man 
is carried off at dawn by the police, and she shuddered when 
she thought how often she had swept this criminal's room un- 


aware of any danger. As the day advanced, callers began to 
inquire for Henle, but ashamed to acknowledge that an inmate 
of her house was in the hands of the authorities, she covered 
the official seals on the door-knob with her apron, and persist- 
ently announced that the doctor was out. It was due to the in- 
tervention of this well-intentioned servant-girl truly, a pillar 
of society that Henle passed many weary hours in the Haus- 
vogtei without seeing a friendly face. As soon as his new resi- 
dence became known, numerous friends, with attentions and 
gifts, made his position as bearable as the authorities permitted. 

During this episode, the Dorpat officials pressed for an 
answer, and were startled to learn that their intended pro- 
fessor was a prisoner. Efforts to have Henle released from 
his lice-laden cell, pending the result of the Burschenschaft 
investigation, were long unsuccessful. Miiller, impracticably 
lovable, did not help matters much by his constant reiteration 
that Henle was indispensable as a prosector; the Gustav 
Magnus family rendered more effective aid by their pressure 
upon the proper authorities, but it was probably due to the 
powerful intercession of Humboldt that Henle was liberated. 

After four weeks of prison-life, the genial young man 
again joined his many friends, and the rejoicing was great. 
Unnumbered visits were received and returned, congratulations 
flowed in from all sides, champagne ran like water for him, 
Berlin pancakes were stacked in hills before him, men em- 
braced him, women wept with emotion, and in the midst of a 
large assemblage, a pretty woman came forward and kissed 
him and with characteristic male exultation, Henle notified 


his parents that for rewards like this, he would gladly spend 
another month in prison. Miiller informed him that his four 
weeks in the Hausvogtei brought him more popularity than if 
he had written a thick book. The climax came when a car- 
riage stopped in front of the released prisoner's door, and a 
gentleman accompanied by a liveried footman mounted the 
three flights of stairs that led to Henle's apartment. The caller 
was one of the European powers Alexander von Humboldt. 
His wishes altered the decisions of governments, and kings 
bored him with their society. To have Humbolt climb three 
flights of stairs to see you, was an epoch in a man's career. 
But this drama did not end with the climax it was followed 
by a farce. In the liveliest thoroughfare of Berlin, the prose- 
cutor Kamptz greeted Henle affably, and explained for an 
hour that he personally was convinced of the innocence of the 
Burschenschafter and how differently all would have been 
if he had the sole authority and passers-by could hardly trust 
their eyes when they saw this peaceful promenade. 

Yet the investigation was by no means over, and in the 
harassing months that followed, Henle's mother went to her 
grave without knowing what fate was in store for her son. 
It must have been the extenuating circumstances of the case 
which kept the judges so long at their task. The problem was 
indeed a delicate one, for it required due exercise of the judicial 
mind to determine a fitting penalty for a student who had 
joined a students' organization, but instead of remaining to 
plot against the government, had withdrawn when he noticed 
his fellow-conspirators were too generous with his tobacco. 
It was not until the fifth of January, 1837, that this verdict was 


delivered : deprivation of state office, and six years' incarcera- 
tion in a fortress. If the sentence seems severe to us, we may 
console ourselves with the reflection that in every city through- 
out civilization today, there are judges eager to impose similar 
sentences upon those whom they deem guilty of intellectual 
insubordination. Had Henle been without protection, his 
career would have been blasted at its outset, but powerful 
influences among them being Humboldt, worked for his pardon, 
and on the second of March, the shadow was lifted. 

Then began a remarkable period of productivity in which 
Henle became one of the chief builders of modern medicine. 
His contributions to Miiller's Archiv were sufficient to 
make the reputation of a dozen professors. In those days the 
Berlin presses printed monographs, signed J. Henle, which 
opened up new paths to science. Had he never accomplished 
anything beyond his researches from 1837 to 1840, the name of 
Jacob Henle would still rank with the foremost investigators 
of modern times. Yet Henle was not happy in Berlin. Unable 
to forget the vermin and the Prussian officials, he itched for 
a professorship in another land. When Henle's co-worker in 
Miiller's laboratory, Theodor Schwann, was appointed pro- 
fessor in Louvain, Henle watched the departure of his young 
friend with envious eyes. 

In the early months of 1840, came Henle's turn: he re- 
ceived the offer of a professorship in Ziirich and a hint not 
to interest himself in Swiss politics. With eagerness, he ac- 
cepted the proposition, and set out for Switzerland and Des- 
tiny waited across the border. 


The Switzerland of the present is a well-ordered tourist's 
paradise over which shines an array of Baedecker stars, but in 
Henle's time the beauty of its lakes was defiled by politics, and 
wrangling men impaired the majesty of its mountains. In 
Zurich, the controversy was precipitated by D. F. Strauss, the 
storm-petrel of theology, whose Leben Jesu Englished by 
George Eliot is one of the classics of freethought. The lib- 
erals of Zurich, being temporarily in the ascendant, were dar- 
ing enough to appoint Strauss to the chair of theology, but the 
threatened invasion of the Tubingen rationalist aroused such 
protests, that although the administration pensioned Strauss 
before he commenced his duties, the forces of reaction were 
not appeased, and in the upheaval that followed, the conserva- 
tives rode into power with the determination to punish the 
young university in revenge for the invitation to Strauss. 
From this imbroglio, Henle was glad to retreat to the calmness 
of his dissecting-room. 

When Henle arrived in a new town, before settling down 
to work, he found it necessary to relax. During his first win- 
ter at Zurich, he spent more time in the tavern than at his 



books. His evenings were a succession of balls and entertain- 
ments, followed by concerts and theatricals. In one of his 
letters, Henle describes the Swiss system of chaperonage: 

Everyone dances. Old ladies, mothers and aunts are seldom pres- 
ent, and if they are, they go home at eleven, and consign their daugh- 
ters to the care of a young man who is not too much of a stranger. 
On the way to the ball, a servant precedes with a lantern, so that the 
stockings should not be soiled. On the return, this foresight is dis- 
pensed with, and with it the servant. Is this not idyllic? 

The deluge of merriment was tinctured with adversity 
when Henle found himself compelled to change his 
lodgings because his landlord Hagenbuch expected him to 
court one of his daughters. However, Henle had fallen in 
love with women in Coblenz and Berlin, and he was not in- 
susceptible in Zurich. He was irresistibly attracted to an 
army captain's daughter: he proposed, and was accepted, but 
the first cold embrace appalled him. It soon transpired that 
the girl already had a lover whose passion was on the wane, 
and she resorted to the expedient of winning him back by 
arousing his jealousy; after success had crowned her efforts, 
Henle was quietly dismissed, and the guileless professor thus 
found himself a victim of one of the oldest tricks in love's 
tangled game. 

The ardent-hearted Henle was deeply wounded, and 
sought solace in music. Already skilled on the violin, he 
now took lessons on the violincello, and after mastering the 
bass member of the family, became conspicuous in the mu- 
sical circles of Zurich as singer, violinist and 'cellist. The 
same fingers which. could dissect a cadaver so adroitly, knew 
also the wondrous secrets of four strings of catgut. Upon 


one occasion, a theatrical company to which Henle belonged, 
prepared for a public performance, and among the names 
posted on all street-corners of the town, was that of the ver- 
satile professor of anatomy. Sober-minded citizens, including 
Henle himself, felt that this was carrying virtuosity too far. 

Throughout the career of Henle, the golden thread of 
friendship ran unbroken, and it gathered its richest strands 
in Zurich. For many years that boorish genius, Johann Lucas 
Schonlein, made medical history in the Swiss city. Typhus 
abdominalis and typhus exanthematicus are terms of his de- 
vising; he described peliosis rheumatica so well that we call 
it Schonlein's disease; he discovered the cause of favus to be 
achorion Schonleinii, and as he disliked writing, he described 
his discovery in twenty lines. But in 1840, the mighty Schon- 
lein, founder of the Natural History School of Medicine, re- 
tired from Zurich to reap homage and money in Berlin, and 
into his chair climbed the young clinician, Carl Pfeufer. Pfeu- 
fer's arrival in Zurich coincided with Henle's, and before long 
the two new teachers became acquainted. It was friendship 
at first sight, and with joy Henle wrote : 

Pfeufer is one of the most charming men I ever met, merry, ex- 
ceptionally witty, yet genial, modest and full of ambition. He is young 
and advanced enough to be able to discard the obsolete in other 
words, he is the man I need. 

The anatomist and the clinician talked matters over, and 
decided it was time to revolutionize science. Accordingly 
they founded the School of Rational Medicine, and its fearless 
mouthpiece, "The Journal of Rational Medicine," trumpeted 


abroad the progressive ideas of its editors, and blasted many 
venerable hypotheses which had survived from the days of 
Stahl. But Henle's most important literary undertaking, dur- 
ing the Zurich period, was his "Handbook of General Anat- 

Every university should be a capital of the Republic of 
Arts and Sciences which recognizes neither frontiers nor par- 
tisans but the University of Zurich lay in the political path. 
Perhaps the study of anatomy promotes impartiality, for 
Henle complained without bias: 

Rankling with fresh hatred, the two antagonistic parties, the aris- 
tocratic-religious and radical, face each other, and both are tearing us 
apart: the reactionaries inquire whether the university is worth its 
expense, and the radicals, who consider themselves the enlightened 
ones, resent our non-partisan attitude .... Even with diligence, patience 
and ability, it will never be possible to make anything out of our 
university in the face of such a struggle.. There is only one good side 
to the situation, and that is that we all stand solidly together. Many 
little animosities and much raillery have been forgotten in the face 
of the common foe, and we spend the beautiful summer evenings and 
Sundays out in the open, and amuse ourselves by scolding and jests 
at the expense of the powers that be. 

Henle's passage through the university was marked by 
series of calms and tempests, but each time he triumphantly 
reached his goal. When entering upon his duties, he was 
much pleased with the new and practical anatomy-building, 
but was disconcerted to learn that one microscope had to 
serve for all students. The authorities came to the rescue 
by permitting him to order another, and they placed at his 


disposal the sum of 480 Swiss francs to be spent exclusively 
upon instruments. 

Henle was greeted a trifle pompously, yet affably 
enough, by his prosector, and this assistant would have suf- 
ficed for most professors, but Henle never considered a pre- 
tentious demeanor a substitute for anatomical knowledge. 
During a certain semester, he intimated that his prosector be 
removed to another department, and after adding a few other 
suggestions in the form of an ultimatum, Henle went upon 
his summer vacation little expecting to resume his chair, for 
authorities are usually deaf in the presence of requests. Upon 
his return in the autumn, to his surprise he found that all his 
wishes had been met: the appropriation for the collection of 
comparative anatomy had been secured, and not only had the 
prosector been transferred, but in his place was Albert K61- 

From that moment Henle became a great teacher, because 
he had a great pupil. Kolliker was a Ziiricher with a Heidel- 
berg diploma, but his real education was gained in Berlin 
where he had sat at the feet of Johannes Miiller, and during 
his prosectorship under Henle he contributed to Miiller's 
Archiv a monograph in which he carried the Schleiden- 
Schwann cell-theory into embryology, being among the ear- 
liest investigators to recognize the ovum as a single cell, and 
treating segmentation simply as normal cell division. Henle 
had discovered unstriated muscle in blood-vessel walls, but 
Kolliker was the first who succeeded in isolating it, and demon- 
strated that smooth muscle is composed of nucleated muscle- 
cells. In the seventeenth century, Leeuwenhoek described 


the spermatozoa, but it was left for Kolliker to explain their 
true development, and he again recalled Leeuwenhoek when 
he increased our knowledge of the branched muscle plates of 
the heart which had first been seen by the Delft microscopist. 

Kolliker extended Corti's discoveries in the histology of 
the ear, and was the first to supply a satisfactory description 
of the fibrous layer of the substantia propria of the iris. K61- 
liker's proof that nerve-fibres are continuous with nerve-cells 
was sufficient to establish an immortal reputation, and it is 
perhaps in the minute anatomy of the brain and spinal cord 
that Kolliker accomplished his most valuable work: the neu- 
roglia is known as Kolliker's reticulum, the ganglion-cells are 
spoken of as Kolliker's tract cells, and the gray matter sur- 
rounding the spinal canal is eponymized into Kolliker's nu- 
cleus. The journal of zoology which he edited for half a cen- 
tury, his treatise on comparative embryology, and his text- 
books on microscopic anatomy and human histology the 
first comprehensive works on the subject were replete with 
his unnumbered researches and discoveries. 

It has truthfully been said of Kolliker or von Kolliker, 
as he became in his age that "there is no fragment of the 
body of man on which he did not leave his mark," and that 
"he knew more by direct personal observation of the micro- 
scopic structure of animals than any one else who has ever 
lived." He was one of the greatest histologists of all time, 
and one of the chief creators of its modern phase. With the 
exception of his prosectorship, and later professorship, 
in his native Zurich, Kolliker's academic life was passed in 


Wiirzburg. He has not lodged in the imposing palace whose 
walls took twenty years to complete, built for Bavarian 
bishops and grand-dukes in imitation of Versailles, but with 
the microscope which he brought to the archaic town, Kb'lli- 
ker built temples of science where succeeding generations 
shall dwell. 

The only time a professor feels really independent is 
when he receives a call from another university, and when 
Henle was invited to Tubingen it was a signal for another 
ultimatum, although on this occasion his demands were more 
on behalf of his colleagues than for his own department. 
Zurich, which had lost Schonlein, determined to keep Henle, 
and so prompt was its compliance with Henle's wishes, that 
he leaned back in satisfaction and wrote : 

I decide to remain. I would have to give up dear friends, a mag- 
nificent country, pleasant neighbors in Bern and Basel, and a brand- 
new anatomy, a large hospital, surplus of cadaver, good beer, an excellent 
servant, a prospect of numerous visits, leisure for work and much else. 

Here was a profusion of reasons for remaining on Swiss 
soil, and yet Henle left unnamed the prime reason Pfeufer. 
The friendship between these two men had grown until it 
could no longer be uprooted; socially and scientifically, the 
founders of the School of Rational Medicine were indispensa- 
ble to each other. Pfeufer, the practitioner, could keep 
abreast of all anatomical and physiological researches by 
merely consulting Henle; and Henle the scientist, could un- 
dertake an elaborate treatise on general pathology without 


visiting a sick-bed, as long as he had the benefit of the 
clinical experience and diagnostic keenness of Pfeufer. 

So Henle sent to Tubingen a letter of declination, and 
its ink had hardly dried when Pfeufer received a letter which 
caused fresh excitement a call to Heidelberg; and the situa- 
tion was further complicated when Tubingen answered that 
it would not consider Henle's refusal as final. Once more 
arguments were weighed and plans measured, and again they 
tried to read the secrets of the future, but mature delibera- 
tion simply served to bring the two friends back to their 
starting-point: the thought of separation was unthinkable: 
Henle said No to Tubingen, and Pfeufer said No to Heidel- 

The students of Zurich expressed their gratification at 
the decision by a torchlight procession in joint celebration of 
the two professors. Leaning out of his window, Pfeufer 
thanked them for their speech, while the genial Henle 
descended to the street, and expressed his joy that he was 
in the midst of sympathetic colleagues and of students who 
were not merely concerned to acquire the superficial ability 
to practice, but desired to lay a scientific foundation under- 
neath the superstructure of medicine. The flaming torches 
and the full-throated cheers replied with enthusiasm, and 
Henle and Pfeufer seemed destined to become the veterans 
of the Zurich faculty. 

A few years previous, Henle had vainly scanned the 
academic horizon for a chair, but now alluring seats were 
offered him. Tiedemann, the ageing anatomist of Heidel- 


berg, was anxious to secure Henle as his associate, but know- 
ing that Henle would not stir without Pfeufer, it occurred to 
Tiedemann to bring Pfeufer along too. Together the friends 
were invited, together they accepted, and in 1844 they became 
members of the Heidelberg faculty. 


Confidential as was the relationship between these men, 
Pfeufer could not guess that Henle was motivated to leave 
Zurich at this time because there was a woman in the case. 
During a considerable portion of his Swiss sojourn, Henle 
lived in the house of his friend Loewig the chemist, in whose 
employ was a pretty nursemaid, named Elise Egloff. A man 
frequently imagines that a girl yearns for him when she only 
finds him ridiculous, and when a girl really loves him he is 
apt to overlook it until some one tells him. 

Henle had proposed marriage to several women who 
despised him for his meagre pocket-book, and he did not see 
that Elise Egloff trembled with joy whenever she was per- 
mitted to serve him at table, and he could not know that when 
he played the piano or raised his voice in song, behind the 
closed door stood a woman listening with tears of passionate 
rapture. Elise guarded her emotions as carefully as she could, 
and Henle himself probably never would have stumbled upon 
the truth, but the girl's condition could not escape the vigi- 
lant eye of Frau Loewig. 



One day she informed Henle that her maid was in love 
with him, and then impersonally called his attention to Elise's 
goodness and unusual beauty, never imagining that anything 
could ever bridge the social chasm which separated the young 
servant-girl from the great scientist. But as the man listened 
to the words of Frau Loewig, the heart within him leaped, 
and he was eager to begin an affair with Elise Egloff. Cer- 
tainly he did not contemplate marriage, in fact, he could not 
explain what he expected, but his aroused instincts responded 
to sex-lure. Smilingly he entered into a light flirtation, but 
after the first careless step he could not retreat, for the fires 
of love blocked his path. In his graphic and matchless man- 
ner, Henle described the unexpected turn of events: 

My Lisette, was a dear prattling Gretchen; I was learned and ripe 
enough for Faust, and bewitched enough. But Mephistopheles was 
missing, and there occurred the most ludicruous thing that could ever 
happen to a worldly cavalier in a relationship of this kind. I 
interested myself not only in the girl's beauty but also in her soul. 
I was won by her honesty, her kindness, her warmth and also her 
pride, which was doubly becoming to her because she felt her depend- 
ent position and bore it with resignation. 

Since it is not considered proper for unwedded lovers to 
dwell under the same roof, Elise left the service of the Loe- 
wigs, and supported herself as a seamstress, and in this capa- 
city still came occasionally to Frau Loewig. The intensity of 
her feelings caused her such deep suffering, that the alarmed 
Henle instituted himself her protector, and sought to deliver 
fatherly advice: he assured her that the most sensible thing 


she could do would be to forget him, and he pointed out that 
it would be best if she secured a position with a reliable 
family in some other town. So they agreed to part, but in 
spite of their repeated resolve never to meet again, their mu- 
tual passion swept them closer and closer together. The abyss 
that divided them was wide, and seemingly impassable, while 
the whirlpool of society's prejudice eddied underneath ready 
to engulf all who approached but it was bridged by Elise's 
gentle hand. From the tender clasp, Henle could not with- 
draw, and in an illuminating passage he explains the situa- 

It was too late, and the gayly-made acquaintance now became a 
deep fountain of doubt for her and a great distress for me. For weeks 
I would avoid her; but when I saw her again, pale and thin, and I 
heard from the Loewigs how changed she was, and that they feared 
she was in a bad way, then I sought her out again and thought of 
nothing else but of consoling her and of trying to convince her to 
accept the untroubled present without thinking of the future. We 
had seen each other a few times again, when I received a letter from 
her friend, in which she implored me to leave EKse, and described her 
deplorable condition. 

I had never experienced anything so humiliating, or that shamed 
me so much, and I decided that things must change at any price. We 
agreed that she was to leave Zurich, and I advised her to go to the 
French Switzerland and later to take a position with a good family. 
A few days later, when I saw her again in the Botanical Garden the 
place we had appointed for our rendezvous sne had upset all these 
plans: she could not leave Zurich; as long as she was able, a few times 
a week to pass by my hearth and see the fire burning there, she would 
be happy. 


In the meantime Henle received the call to Heidelberg, 
and out of his confused sensations arose one clear inspiration : 
Elise already possessed more charm and beauty than many a 
high-born dame ; she was untaught but intelligent, and though 
she knew how to suffer, she loved life. Why not take this 
charming creature to Germany with him, and have her min- 
gle with well-bred folks until she acquired the education and 
proprieties that would fit her to become Frau Professor? It 
was a hazardous experiment, but Henle felt that only in this 
way could he assure himself of a happy, or if the experi- 
ment failed at least, of an unreproachful future. 

Henle was accustomed to solve physiological experiments 
by his own resources, but in this present problem, with its 
human entanglements and uncertainties, he turned helplessly 
to his sister Marie, announcing to her that he had a protege 
in Traben for whom he felt a philanthropic interest. A portion 
of this statement was true, for in the spring of 1844, Henle had 
placed Elise in the little town on the Moselle to undergo her 
preliminary training before passing into Marie's hands, but he 
neglected to inform Marie that some day he intended to many 
Elise. However, he confessed his secret to Marie's husband, 
Mathieu, and indeed it was his friendly brother-in-law who 
helped to locate Elise in Traben-on-the-Moselle, and rendered 
further aid by concocting a fantastic story regarding Elise's 

Henle knew Mathieu from the days when they were boys 
together in Coblenz, and Malchen Zeiller's rosy face seemed 
to young Jacob the sweetest thing in the world. Mathieu was 


interested in art to the extent of nailing classical prints upon 
his door, and after Henle explained this circumstance to Mal- 
chen and heard her comment, "That must be nice," he begged 
her to wait a few moments. He was a knight who lived only 
to gratify his lady's whims, and running at full speed to 
Mathieu's room, he lifted the door from its hinges, placed it 
upon his back, and carried it down the flights and across the 
streets exhibiting masterpieces of Diirer and Holbein to 
passers-by until breathless but triumphant, he showed the 
pictures to his beloved. Mathieu would have been incapable 
of such a feat, for he evaded the opposite sex so scrupulously 
that he was considered a woman-hater, but the sophisticated 
reader will understand that he was simply bashful. Whenever 
he visited Henle, he scrambled hastily up the steps in order to 
avoid meeting any of his friend's sisters, but it must be record- 
ed that though Mathieu mounted the stairway three steps at a 
time, he evidently met Marie at the head of the stairs once 
in a while, for in the years that followed, when the gallant 
Henle was endeavoring to throw away his bachelorhood in 
three cities, the shy Mathieu was blissfully married to Henle's 
eldest sister. 

Henle's second brother-in-law and intimate friend, the 
Hofrath Schoell, also knew of Henle's relationship to Miss 
Egloff , and after visiting the girl, related his impressions : 

She made an exceedingly favorable impression upon me. I found 
her very charming and was greatly moved. Then as it happens to 
everyone who stands face to face with her, I realized her peculiar 
position and I felt deep compassion for her. The thought that the 


situation may become extremely painful, if it should last much longer, 
troubled me. The fact that she was among strange people in a strange 
place, who had to remain strange to her, despite all their friendliness, 
because they were not permitted to know anything about her life, then 
the stress of her belated education, the change of conditions, the long- 
ing and secret passion, and the unknown future all this is too much. 
If her lover had been of a less sentimental turn of mind, a more 
prosaic but for the girl a more practical way could have been found, 
which would have led to the same goal 

Apparently, Schoell did not know that Marie was not in 
the secret, for it was some chance words of his which first 
disclosed the actual state of affairs to Frau Mathieu. Natur- 
ally, she was indignant at the deception, and it is on record 
that she could not suppress the remark that she would have 
been far better pleased if her brother had revealed the truth 
to her before. But Henle managed to pacify her, and there 
was no interruption in their devotion to each other. That 
Henle did not belong to the international army of unapprecia- 
tive brothers, may be seen by the following letter which he 
sent Marie concerning Elise : 

I do not, of course, lay stress upon history, mythology, etc., but 
I wish that my protege should acquire poise and deportment, which 
can come only through association with cultured people, and I wish 
her to learn to appreciate the finer shades of feeling and taste, which 
ennoble life. The school should merely round out the rough edges so 
as to make her capable of entering into select circles, where she can 
develop further. 

In whom, but you, dear sister, can I place my hopes! You remem- 
ber that I told you a long time ago, at a time when it did not sound 
like intentional flattery, that of all women I know, I should like to 



choose a wife who would resemble you in every respect. I was also 
convinced that you are capable of making sacrifices, great and small, 
in order to help me to reach happiness, which you know well how to 
value, and that you would be the last in the world to lose patience 
should the result not meet with expectations, and that you would be 
the first who would frankly, and free from prejudice, either approve 
of my decision or dissuade me, without any emotionalism, from the 
step I am about to take, depending entirely upon your judgment of 
your charge. 

Marie now traveled to Traben to see Elise, and when these 
two women met, both were embarrassed. Later, Miss Egloff 
moved into Marie Mathieu's home, where everything possible 
was accomplished for her advancement. Herr Mathieu enthu- 
siastically read to her the classic poets, while Frau Mathieu 
instructed her in the labyrinthine intricacies of social inter- 
course. Marie performed her duties faithfully, and her exam- 
ple was of inestimable advantage to Elise, but no one should 
be surprised to learn that Miss Egloff was more at ease with 
gentlemen like Mathieu and Schoell, who welcomed her cor- 
dially, than in the presence of Marie, who obviously could not 
help thinking that it was a trifle unreasonable for Miss Egloff 
to have fallen in love with her distinguished brother. 

Since music was a necessity to Henle, a course of lessons 
in this branch was mapped out for Elise, but though she re- 
mained at the pianoforte with the assiduity of a child prac- 
tising for a much-desired reward, she made little progress. 
There was rhythm in her walk and music in her smile, but she 
could not master bars and scales. Aside from this failure, the 
experiment was such a brilliant success that within a short 
time Elise Egloff was transformed into a lady of the world 


who moved becomingly, amid general approbation in circles 
bristling with cleverness and repartee, yet she made no breaks 
and she violated no commandment in the decalog of etiquette. 
A certain moralist laid it down as an axiom that all women 
should act as seamstresses for their own families, but Elise did 
not discuss the art of needlework. The impoverished poet who 
was invited to the home of a lady of wealth, and began the 
conversation by asking his hostess if she had noticed the differ- 
ent colors of pawn-tickets, had no counterpart in Elise Egloff . 
Her feverishly acquired education, added to her native sense 
and delicacy, served to pilot her through society's breakers, 
and though there were dangers which threatened at times to 
wreck her peace, high above the foam gleamed the beacon of 
her faith in Jacob Henle. 

Events now moved rapidly. In 1845, Henle asked his 
father's permission to many, the betrothal was announced in 
the early months of 1846, and during the caster vacation Elise 
became Henle's wife. The honeymoon was spent in Vienna, 
where Henle was warmly greeted by the foremost medical men 
of the day, including Rokitansky, and especially by his friend 
who "spoke like Cicero and wrote like Heine" the incom- 
parable Hyrtl. In the celebrations and banquets that were 
accorded them, Henle noticed that not all the admiration was 
directed towards his learned self, but that a generous share 
was lavished upon his wife's charms. 

On the return journey, the bridal couple passed 
Weimar, where Elise attended the theatre. The Grz 
was one of the audience, but did not give his undivided' 


tion to the play, for he looked long at young Elise, and finally 
sent his adjutant from his court-box to inquire who was the 
beautiful stranger who so fascinated him. And Henle, the 
ex-Burschenschafter, the dangerous demagogue who faced six 
years in a fortress because of his democratic principles, was 
overjoyed at this mark of royal favor. Perhaps he reasoned 
that if the Grand Duke knew nothing else, at least he knew a 
handsome woman when he saw her. The ladies of fashion 
who crowded around Elise, would have been either amazed or 
enraged to learn that two years ago she might have been their 

On reaching Heidelberg, Elise's defective education be- 
came evident, for she was forced to stand by while her husband 
fixed up their home according t j a man's ideas, and the results 
were sometimes incongruous. Merkel admits that as a re- 
former in science, Henle was more successful than as a re- 
former of the household he objected to curtains because they 
cut off some of the light. But in Henle's defence it may be 
urged that even if he did serve the roast on an earthenware 
platter, he bought the largest and most comfortable chairs and 
lounges obtainable. 

Henle's most frequent guest, of course, was Pfeufer; one 
day when the clinician was visiting his friend's home, his eyes 
opened wide with alarm, for he heard Elise cough. An hemop- 
tysis confirmed his suspicions, and Pfeufer diagnosed pul- 
monary disease. A period of rest improved her condition, and 
during the fall vacation Henle prepared to take his wife to 
Zurich. Henle loved company, managed to persuade sister 
Marie and brother-in-law Mathieu to come along, and made 


arrangements to meet Pfeufer on the way. It gave Henle 
pleasure to anticipate the look of wonder on the faces of the 
townspeople who had speculated over Elise's sudden disap- 
pearance, and would now find her a different being. But 
hardly had the merry pilgrims reached Zurich when Elise's 
malady awoke, and instead of a holiday companion, Pfeufer 
assumed his familiar role of physician. 

As the days went on, repeated messages from Heidelberg 
called Pfeufer in consultation regarding some aristocratic per- 
sonages, but he would not move from the sick-bed of Elise. 
It was due largely to his efforts that she returned home in 
such health that she was able, in the month of December, to 
undergo her first confinement without complications. The 
child was named Carl, and Henle reported: "Immediately he 
began to suck his thumb and to put out his tongue, from 
which I conclude that as far as his appetite and temperament 
are concerned, he will take after his father." 

As Henle could not be content without frequent social 
gatherings, Elise arranged many parties and feasts for him. 
She proved to be one of those hostesses whose characteristics 
are a puzzle to men. Often she would get up in the morning 
pale and tired, and all day would be out of sorts and complain 
of depression, but as soon as the guests began to arrive, her 
features grew animated, beauty bloomed in her cheeks, and 
she radiated life. To entertain was easy for her, for she was 
the center of attraction. 

It was a happy household, but tuberculosis draws a line 
from the home to Badenweiler. In the summer of 1847, 
Pfeufer ordered Elise to the famous health resort, but from its 
climate and springs she borrowed no relief. She returned to 


Heidelberg an invalid, and after several sad months gave pre- 
mature birth to a daughter, named after herself. Then dark- 
ness settled over the house of Henle, and life and death waged 
their never-ending battle. The infant hovered between the 
two antagonists, and it became difficult for Henle to reach the 
bedside of his wife or child, for his old affliction assumed such 
aspects that the doctors debated whether amputation was in- 
dicated. During this critical period, Henle's sisters made 
splendid nurses, and Pfeufer was as efficient as an entire hos- 
pital staff. 

As the days passed, the issue of the battle became appar- 
ent. Henle improved and was able to walk again, and baby 
Elise smiled at its first victory over death, but the lips of 
mother Elise were closed forever. Henle was inconsolable; 
for a long time he refused the distractions of society, and the 
sight of a woman was especially unnerving. He could not 
bring himself to visit the cemetery where Elise lay buried, 
and those who have read his private letters in which he be- 
moans the loss of so much grace, beauty and nobility of soul, 
say that their pathos is beyond words. 

Her portrait was painted by Eduard Magnus one of 
Henle's most important friends throughout the Berlin excite- 
ment and the sculptor Meyer perpetuated her in marble. 
Berthold Auerbach, the distinguished novelist, was a daily 
visitor to Henle's shattered home, and later utilized Elise's 
life-story for one of his tales. Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer, the 
famous actress and playwright, whose collected productions 
number twenty-six volumes, brought Elise upon the stage. 
Henle was deeply hurt at the manner in which these writers 


handled their theme, but the life of Elise Egloff was essentially 
dramatic: the secret passion and despair, wisdom captivated 
by beauty, the transformation from seamstress to hostess, the 
triumph followed by tragedy these emotional situations could 
not escape the authors. 

In her brief career she added a fragrant chapter to biog- 
raphy, for a sweeter figure than Elise Egloff never strayed 
across the annals of medical history she is one of those who 
enriched the world with a romance it can never forget. 


The most vivid description of Henle in Heidelberg was 
drawn by a student who did not follow the Henlean path, but 
became one of the greatest clinicians of the century Adolf 
Kussmaul. In his old age, recalling the memories of his youth, 
Kussmaul devoted a chapter to Henle from which we extract 
these picturesque passages : 

Henle's lecture was like a fresh, clear brook, upon whose lightly- 
stirring surface merry lights were playing. Although he framed his 
sentences in a simple manner, and retained his poise and calm, he was 
always entertaining, and his remarks, his humorous comparisons, and 
his sudden and unexpected flashes of thought, permitted of no ennui. 
When he said a witty thing, there was a smile upon his lips, he touched 
the tip of his nose with his finger, and threw his head a little to one 
side, as though he wished to shake off this idea which escaped him while 
off his guard. Within a short time, the youthful professor won the favor 
of his audience. His academic and political past contributed to it that 
the students loved and honored him. A small sword-cut upon his left 
cheek reminded them that he had belonged to the Burschenschaft, and 
was therefore arrested and confined in the Hausvogtei. There, too, 
shone about his head the halo of a romantic love. 

Henle's marriage with a charming girl from the lower classes he, 
however, had his sister educate her corresponded with the social tone 



of the time. It was the medical men who arrived at the conclusion that 
the anatomical equality of Eve's daughters should extend to social equal- 
ity as well. Several of my acquaintances, and two honored professors 
of the faculty of medicine of Strassburg, stepped down from academic 
heights to take back with them untutored daughters of the people. A 
story reached me, in the spring of 1847, how a Heidelberg teacher and 
anatomist, a pupil of Henle, was given his conge by a pretty child of the 
merry Pfalz. He wished to follow his adored master not only in the 
study of medicine, but in the choice of a wife as well. His young, fresh 
waitress appealed to him, and he made her a proposal of marriage with 
the proviso that she should first be educated in a private ladies' school 
at his expense, so as to be fitted for the position which she was to occupy 
as his wife. But he fared badly. She flared up and demanded to know 
whether he was in his right senses; she told him she already had a 
sweetheart for whom she was well enough educated; a trim butcher, 
who outweighed two such lean doctors. 

In the forties, science had not secured its divorce from 
superstition, for their union was upheld by many professors 
who were better versed in piety than in pathology. The name 
of Obermedizinalrat Ringseis means little to the present gen- 
eration, but in his day he was a power in Germany ; the filling 
of numerous posts depended upon his judgment, and this mai? 
firmly believed that disease was due to sinning against God 
and could be cured only by the grace of the church. Moreover, 
a host of system-spinners performed no experiments, but built 
up fanciful little cults into which they attempted to fit the 
science of medicine. Across these winding mazes beginning 
in involved hypotheses, and ending in an interminable network 
of classifications and sub-divisions Henle cut a bold new 
road, and the academic youth of Germany followed the path- 
finder. They swarmed to his lectures, and the venerable mem- 
bers of the faculty found themselves neglected for the new 


favorite. Shortly after Henle's arrival in Heidelberg, an inci- 
dent occurred which brought back the Zurich period. The 
night grew alive with light, and music blended with the up- 
raised torches and then a student stepped forward and spoke : 

We are assembled here this evening, that we may show a slight 
mark of our appreciation of one whom we esteem as a thinker and re- 
search-worker, whom we admire as a teacher, and whom we love as a 
man. As a discoverer, he struggles untiringly and indefatigably at the 
head of those who oppose the wretched empiricism of medicine. The 
frost which had covered our science has been broken by his efforts, and 
already the tree bears spring-blossoms for the cure of suffering 

With pride, the German nation points to the astronomer Kepler, 
who through telescopic research guided us into the immeasurable starry 
infinite, and so has our teacher's microscopic research opened to us the 
organic infinite. We admire him I say, as a teacher, for he has pre- 
sented to us the truth, simply and convincingly, free from the nimbus 
of exaggerated erudition. I repeat, we love him as a human being, for 
science did not extinguish in him the desire for the well-being of man- 
kind and for the fatherland. From a full heart, let us call a thousand- 
voiced Hoch to this honored man. 

Henle's answer, which was hailed with loud rejoicing, was 
simple and inspiring a model of what such replies should be/ 

Gentlemen, I accept this unexpected mark of your appreciation with 
thankfulness and pride. I shall not say, as is so often done, that this 
honor is impersonal. I say, this is done to me personally. But what 
may be the reason for this appreciation? I believe it is nothing else 
but that I am one of you. Much rubbish is at hand, which we have to 
clear away. With united forces, we are endeavoring to do this. We are 
commilitants truly a wonderful name. Comrades-in-arms are we, in 
the campaign in which we are going to make new discoveries. Let us 
call a Hoch to the comaraderie of our science and to our university. 
The significance of this ovation lay in its spontaneity, for 


it was not Henle's birthday nor the anniversary of anything, 
and the whole celebration was the instinctive tribute of youth 
to a new leader. The Easter of 1845 witnessed an even 
stranger event: Henle utilized this vacation to call upon his 
publisher in Braunschweig, and upon his return, visited Leip- 
zig, where Felix Mendelssohn invited him to dinner and music ; 
next he turned toward Halle, where he had an appointment 
with some scientific friends, and let Henle relate what hap- 
pened at Halle : 

On the second evening, I was surprised by a serenade by a deputa- 
tion of medical students; one of them made a beautiful speech and they 
cheered me, to which I replied from the window with the calm and self- 
possession of a man quite accustomed to such occurrences. The speaker 
said among other things that fault had been found with the medical 
men of Halle for following practice to the exclusion of theory but they 
simply kept at a distance from the poor theories of the past. Now, 
however, that I constructed a new basis, founded upon physiology, they 
were just as zealous as any one to follow this path, etc., etc. My reply 
was not exactly beautiful, still it was fluent I was somewhat embar- 
rassed as Halle's professors were standing by, and had to witness this 
boosting of a stranger. 

How frantically some men have worked to become a 
Hofrath, how ceaselessly they have schemed for it and how 
easily it is thrust upon others who never coveted the aulic 
counselorship. When the Government of Baden conferred 
this distinction upon Henle and Pfeufer, the former wrote to 
his father: 

You know what I think about this. I am not exactly overjoyed 
that I shall no longer hear my beautiful and well-earned Professor's 
title; under the present condition, however, and as we did not behave 
very tamely to the administration and did not take one single step to 


reach this honor, and as hardly a year has elapsed since our appoint- 
ment, we have to acknowledge it a mark of recognition, which promises 
a certain influence for the future, and this is in no way desirable to our 
cringing colleagues. My chief regret is that I have no longer any right 
to tease Schoell. I spent a few enjoyable days in Halle, and was re- 
ceived by the students with a serenade there, which gave me more 
pleasure then the so-called favor of the lordships. 

The year of destiny, 1848, opened inauspiciously for Henle. 
His Elise lay on her death-bed, and on the twenty-first of 
February, death took her. Quiet had come to her, but the 
world was in revolution, and Heidelberg was the center of the 
cauldron. From the public turmoil which naturally agitated 
Henle, he could not escape to a home of peace and comfort; 
after the day's labor, no hearth awaited him where he could 
throw off his cares with his overcoat eventful 1848 was the 
unhappiest year of his life. 

As the weary months wore on, his sister Helene deter- 
mined to come to his rescue. She had a friend named Marie 
Richter, the daughter of a Prussian army officer, and elo- 
quently she sang Jacob's praises to Fraulein Marie. Fourteen 
months after his wife's decease, Henle visited his father and 
sister Helene at Coblenz, and there he met not only his rela- 
tives but was guided to the vicinity of Miss Richter while 
Helene watched and waited. Her patience was not severely 
tried, for Helene's brother and Helene's choice fell in love with 
each other at once. Within a few days, the scientist proposed, 
and was eagerly accepted. Frau Mathieu now visited the girl 
and the letter of sister Marie is full of praise for sweetheart 
Marie, but it reveals also the writer's own nobility: 

As far as human insight goes, we can be pleased over this union, 


for Marie Richter possesses all the qualities from which we can expect 
that she will adorn the family hearth, and from the very first meeting 
with our brother she seemed to have become heartily attached to him, 
and affection is to him a life's necessity. She is a charming well- 
appearing girl, and will, according to all indications, be a good mother 
to his children. 

Unlike poor Elise, Marie Richter was proficient in music. 
After an engagement of a few months, Henle and Marie were 
married, and they made the fairy-tale come true by living 
happily ever after. In due time, a merry daughter, Anna, was 
born to them, and she was followed by little Sophie. With 
children and honors and the pages of his Handbook of Rational 
Pathology periodically increasing, Henle seemed rooted to 
Heidelberg. Contentment reigned at his fireside, but with his 
colleagues he was at constant war. When Henle was a Heidel- 
berg student, Chelius, Tiedemann, Naegele and Puchelt were 
of the faculty : years later, on returning to Heidelberg as pro- 
fessor, Henle found the faculty unchanged. Science had 
marched on, but Tiedemann, Puchelt, the stately Chelius, and 
their confreres, still sat in their well-worn chairs, untouched 
by the new era. Upon their doors the young generation 
knocked loudly, for the modern Dioscuri as Henle and 
Pfeufer were called had valiant hands. Henle's opinion of 
his venerable colleagues may be plainly seen in the following 
letter, brief but bristling with invective: 

I am still somewhat strange here, and hope to remain so unless new 
elements appear. To feel at home among these boresome antique uni- 
versity-pigtails, would, as Pfeufer and I tell each other, be for us a 
degradation. Here nothing remains but to allow the old to die out, 
and to found a new colony. Both the government and the students 


seem to wish to help us as much as possible. The government, whose 
eyes have now been opened, is astonished how the faculty utilizes Hei- 
delberg's reputation and its wonderful location, to fatten in comfortable 
calm and lock themselves in from intruders. Everything except the 
residences, country houses and vineyards belonging to the old gentle- 
men, is in a wretched condition. But the students are already begin- 
ning to see that something new, something capable of development, is 
offered them. They are full of enthusiasm for our rational medicine, 
and consequently enraged at the backwardness of affairs here. 

Even Henle's friends have blamed him for the bitterness 
here displayed, but whether justifiable or not, the letter ex- 
presses Henle's attitude and it did not soften with the pass- 
ing years. The hostile relationship between the Henle-Pfeufer 
group and the elder members was further strained by a power- 
ful series of unsigned articles in the recently-founded Deutsche 
Zeitung, praising the progressive elements in the university, 
such as Henle, Pfeufer, Vangerow, Jolly and Rau, and lashing 
the "reactionary periwigs." But though these articles were 
anonymous they were not the production of a nameless jour- 
nalist, but of Georg Gottfried Gervinus. He was one of the 
famous seven who left the university of Gottingen when the 
king of Hanover tore up the constitution, and he became pro- 
fessor of history at Heidelberg in the same year that Henle 
was appointed professor of anatomy. Gervinus wrote the first 
satisfactory History of German Literature, and after a venture 
in practical politics from which he soon retired in disgust 
he devoted his time to the thesis that his favorite poet, Shake- 
speare, and his favorite musician, Handel, were very much 
alike intellectually, because of their common Teutonic origin. 

As already indicated, it was the anatomist Tiedemann 


who had opened the gates of Heidelberg to Henle, but after 
their first personal contact, the elder man took no pride in his 
protege, and the younger felt he owed the other no gratitude. 
They represented different viewpoints, and between them 
there could be no sympathy. Oddly enough, it was a question 
of architecture that fanned Tiedemann's smouldering ani- 
mosity into a wild paroxysm. The new Anatomical Institute 
was then nearing completion, and as its nominal director, 
Tiedemann gave certain orders for the furnishing of its interior 
during the absence of his associate. Henle was an inde- 
fatigable worker, but he was so human that he went off on a 
vacation every time he had a holiday; upon his return, he 
criticized Tiedemann's plans, and was especially displeased 
with the arrangement of the auditorium, which he pronounced 
unserviceable. When leading architects confirmed Henle's 
statements, old Tiedemann's anger was uncontrollable: not 
only did he accuse Henle of a dastardly lie, but he shouted that 
his young colleague was a shameless Jew. 

Tiedemann's shriek reached farther than he expected, for 
Zurich heard that Henle had resigned, and cordially offered 
him his chair again. Henle was undecided whether to accept, 
and it is interesting to note that at this period he was so adrift 
that he even contemplated emigration to America. But Hei- 
delberg would not let Henle go : the ministry rebuked Tiede- 
mann for his insult, demanded that he apologise in writing, and 
conveyed a hint to Henle that the director would soon retire. 
Henle's friends, such as Pfeufer, Gervinus, Vangerow and Jolly 
thereupon met in supreme council, and having decided that his 
honor had been sufficiently vindicated, they induced him t^ 


Fate practised its crudest tricks upon Tiedemann's de- 
clining years; his adored son was one of the revolutionists of 
1848, and when the wonderful year was dead and retrogression 
again assumed its ancient throne, the young man was court- 
martialed and shot. Then the old professor resigned from the 
university where he had become a tradition, and at last Henle's 
heart went out in sympathy toward his fallen antagonist. 

But the same forces which murdered young Tiedemann, 
eventually drove Henle from the faculty. During the fifties, 
darkness held its carnival at Heidelberg, dispersing the liberal 
circles that had gathered there. For publishing an essay which 
was to serve as an introduction to his History of the Nine- 
teenth Century, Gervinus was placed on trial for high treason. 
The proud man disdained to defend himself except to say, 
"This charge, though it appears directed against me, is really 
an accusation against History, which cannot be condemned." 
But the reactionary government of Baden was not afraid of 
History : it burnt Gervinus' pamphlet, and sentenced the writer 
to four months in prison. 

When Heidelberg had become impossible, Pfeufer and 
Jolly accepted Munich's welcome invitation, and Henle re' 
sponded to the call from Gottingen. After twelve years of 
constant association, Henle and Pfeufer were to part. "That 
we do not go together," wrote Henle to his sister, "pains us 
both, but I think I may say that our friendship has reached its 
zenith, and it is better that it should be forcibly rent asunder 
than that it should cool off." Even when moving day came, 
Henle did not experience the usual sadness of farewell, and 
his first Heidelberg letter was rounded out by his last : 


I depart, for the second time from a wonderful country, with the 
regret that it is not peopled with better men, and I shall gladly take 
in its stead some sand and meadows in order to be able to live among 
scientific colleagues and under a government to whom one does not 
become objectionable because of one's justified ambition for one's insti- 

So the scientist left the wooded banks of the Neckar and 
turned to the North, but the stormy Heidelberg years were not 
barren, for Jacob Henle carried with him to Gottingen the 
completed copy of his great Handbook of Rational Pathology. 



In the anatomical building of Gottingen's university "the 
great university in the small town" old Rudolf Wagner, con- 
spicuous for his religious zeal and remembered for his discov- 
ery of the germinal spot, awaited the coming of Jacob Henle. 
Professor Wagner had feared this day, and long fought against 
it ; it was his heart's desire to die teaching anatomy, but as his 
years advanced and his health declined, both colleague's and 
students insinuated, gently at first and later with increasing 
pressure, that he step aside; he prepared to withstand all his 
opponents, but a hemorrhage came to their aid, and the pious 
man humbly said, "Now that the living God has spoken, I 
must bow my head," and in submission he sent for Henle. 
After Wagner and Henle met, the latter, with his usual per- 
spicacity, explained : "My position towards Wagner is similar 
to that I once held in relation to Tiedemann, with all its diffi- 
culties, except that Wagner is a much finer character, and fun- 
damentally a good man. But it is asking too much that he 
stand by, and see how someone inherits from him, while he is 
still alive." 

The halo of spirituality which shone about Wagner, re- 
ceived a few crimps from Karl Vogt, but it shed its beams 
upon Henle, who was accordingly granted an interview with 
George V., the sightless king of Hanover. In those days, 



many letters passed between Gottingen and Munich, and 
Henle wrote to Pfeufer: 

I have had the honor of dining with his majesty at Rotenkirchen. 
This is not so remarkable that you should be informed of it, but that 
this honor is due to my piety, will surely amuse you. The king received 
me with the statement that he felt it a necessity to inform me how much 
he congratulated himself upon the acquisition of a teacher whose repu- 
tation as a scientist was combined with that of a strictly Christian mind 
The poor deluded man had, on his way through Heidelberg, received a 
visit from colleague Wagner, and apparently had some specific conversa- 
tion with him, and then, because of my matter then pending in Heidel- 
berg, he somehow connected me with this visit, and so I stood face to 
face with him as a brother in Christ in talar and a white neck-tie, in 
which you once, in your friendly partiality for my exterior, compared 
me with calf's head en tortue, and with a countenance which must have 
appeared still more strange, as my heroic efforts to set it into strict 
composure were lost upon the blind king and the entire work was done 
merely for the love of God. 

I did not have the heart to spoil the king's joy, for he cannot get 
rid of me now; and when he began to reason about deists, I was able to 
assure him without hypocrisy, that I too did not believe much in deism, 
and when he expressed the conviction that a professor of anatomy 
could, in his lectures, do much for the propagation of religious faith, I 
made him very happy when I remarked that I always call my hearers' 
attention to the defects of human understanding, even in tangible things. 
If I talked a Guelfenorder on my neck or into my button-hole, you may 
rest assured that I shall put it on with a blush. His majesty imme- 
diately grasped the opportunity of informing himself regarding the 
utility of the blind gut, and we had arrived in this remarkable private 
audience as far as tapeworms, when the Hofmarschall announced that 
the soup was served. 

In the fifties, pastorals could have been bred in Gottingen, 
for rusticity was its keynote. The same sylvan paths served 


for professors engrossed in meditation, and for cows intent on 
rumination. There was no railroad nor thriving industries, 
but every family kept a pig-pen whose dwellers spread the 
fame of Gottingen sausage. It is true, the principal streets of 
the town were lined with paving stones, but between their 
crevices the grass grew with sufficient luxuriance to satisfy 
herds of sheep. On his initial contact with this ruralness, 
Henle was appalled it seemed incredible, after his active 
career, that he should pass the remainder of his days amid 
such provincial surroundings. As soon as he heard that 
Pfeufer was negotiating for him at Munich, Henle left his 
home half- furnished and wrote to his friend: 

I would much rather use my energies in connection with yours, to 
build up Munich's university than work here in this retirement, for the 
preservation of a university which blinks melancholically backward upon 
the good old days. I long for the merriment of the South and the 
animated life of a large city, more so for the sake of my wife and my 
growing progeny than for myself, for I, at least, have beautiful mem- 
ories to live upon. 

Gradually the peace of the small town enveloped the spirit 
of Henle, and Pfeufer learnt that his Gottingen comrade began 
to lecture on special anatomy, "in that melancholic-trembling 
voice which you know so well," and the following bucolic was 
transmitted to Munich: 

I find myself in the cleanest and richest of anatomical professor- 
ships imaginable. To use the classroom expression, I am "surrounded 
by all the integral stimuli" which a man and a professor requires in 
life only the vexatious and the exciting ones are lacking. We have 
time, money, devout pupils, and complete teaching apparatus. The 
colleagues are nothing but open encyclopedias. All are as virtuous and 
as industrious as I hope to become, because there is no opportunity for 
anything else. 

The city lodges many students and their teachers; it also harbors 


the necessary bootblack, a cobbler, a tailor, an inn-keeper, and a burgo- 
master and four gendarmes who govern these citizens. At the stroke 
of the hour when the lecture is. over, it is somewhat livelier in the 
streets; at twelve it is noisy, because besides the home-returning men, 
the streets swarm mth maid-servants with baskets filled with berries 
and prunes. Carriage wheels are heard only when there is a ball, or 
when a professor is being buried. At four o'clock everything rushes on 
the Wall, and runs once or twice around the town, after the fashion of 
hemorrhoids, more or less completely blind. 

I have already found a student who plays the violin; as I wished 
to form a trio and needed a C string for my violincello, I inquired at the 
store and found that the store-keeper permitted the article to run out, 
because for two years there had been no demand for it. She would, 
however, have one spun for me. When it was ready, I had to have the 
opening in the tail-piece of my instrument made larger, because the 
string would not go through. 

In public and social life, much has been retained to remind one of 
the town's former connection with England. There is much more civic 
freedom here than anywhere else in Germany; restrictions of hats, 
books, collections, etc., woud be just as impossible here as in England. 
We know nothing of either the religious or political faith of our neigh- 
bors. But aside from independence in vital matters, there is to be found 
the English sameness in non-essentials; the unalterable roast at dinner 
and a certain stability in food and drink, which in spite of the hospi- 
tality of the host and the merriment of the guest, would bring people 
of your sensitive taste to despair. Every Sunday we meet the same 
valet de place, who tells us in advance where we shall dine together 
the forthcoming Sunday, and everywhere are to be found the culinary 
products of the same cook. 

Henle sealed his contentment with Gottingen by buying 
a home, situated directly on the promenade which led around 
the town, shaded by magnificent lindens, and enriched with 
a garden of rare plants and old trees. The house had formerly 


been Langenbeck's private hospital, and the walls which once 
saw the master surgeon amputate a shoulder while you took a 
pinch of snuff, now witnessed happier scenes. If an academy, 
a library, an opera and a dramatic troupe had arrived in Gottin- 
gen, all at once, they could not have aroused the town more 
than did Henle's advent. He formed his colleagues into a 
Friday Night Club, and was its animating spirit, but intercom- 
munion with fellow professors never sufficed for Henle ; gath- 
ering groups of students and young privat docents around him, 
Henle organized musical and theatrical circles. His home 
became the headquarters of visiting artists, and his position as 
director of the museum enabled him to utilize the museum's 
hall for concerts. Renowned men and women participated in 
Henle's musical evenings: here were heard Joachim's violin, 
and the mezzo soprano of Amalie Weiss. 

Among Henle's new professional friends was the derma- 
tologist, Conrad Heinrich Fuchs. "I begin to feel," wrote 
Henle to Pfeufer, "a great attachment to Fuchs, because of 
the pleasant recollections which his doubtful hard 'b' awakens 
1 in me, and also for his kind nature and modest manner, in 
which there is nothing to remind one of the pretentious Sys- 
tems of Skin Diseases." The point of this note is that Pfeufer 
and Fuchs were natives of Bamberg, and therefore found it 
difficult to pronounce the alphabet's second letter; moreover, 
Fuchs was an adherent of the so-called Natural History School, 
and he proved it in his once-famous book on diseases of the 
skin, for while it contains many valuable observations on 
etiology and diagnosis, and even on therapeutics, the effect is 
marred by its incomprehensible nosological arrangement. Had 
Fuchs not made the slightest attempt at classification, instead 


of devoting his chief energies to it, the result would have been 
less bewildering. 

Another friend was the obstetrician, Eduard Caspar Sie- 
bold, a member of what Lorenz Oken called the "Asclepiad 
family of Siebolds." He is now remembered for his classical 
history of midwifery. Siebold was a singer, and played the 
kettle-drum and tymbals with unusual skill and Henle did not 
permit him to neglect these instruments. Henle asserted that 
at the very first tone, he could tell whether Siebold or an 
ordinary drummer was playing. 

Then there was Friedrich Wohler, who was certainly 
worth knowing. He graduated in medicine and sur- 
gery at Heidelberg, and intended to become a prac- 
titioner, but he had already worked in the labora- 
tory of Leopold Gmelin, and was persuaded by him 
to devote his life to chemistry. Gmelin discovered potassium 
ferricyanide but Wohler may be regarded as Gmelin's chief 
contribution to science. The young Wohler went to Stock- 
holm to study under the great Berzelius, and in later years, 
along with original researches, he translated his teacher's work 
from the Swedish. His friendship with Berzelius was matched 
by his lifelong relationship with Liebig, with whom he was 
associated in many important researches. Wohler taught for 
brief periods in Berlin and in Cassel, but for almost half a 
century he held the chair of chemistry in the medical faculty 
at Gottingen. Wohler was the man who broke down the bar- 
rier between organic and inorganic chemistry by constructing 
an organic substance out of its inorganic constituents and 
thus the vital force theory received its death-blow. It was 
granted to Wohler to make another discovery of permanent 


importance : just as his synthesis of urea marked the beginning 
of modern organic chemistry, so his demonstration that ben- 
zoic acid taken into the body reappears in the urine as hippuric 
acid, opened the modern era of the chemistry of metabolism. 
Wohler was equally interested in analysis and among the 
elements he isolated were aluminium, beryllium and yttrium. 
In the spring of 1858, the sons of science went into mourn- 
ing, for the father of scientific medicine in Germany bade them 
the last farewell. No longer would his voice be heard in the 
lecture-room, nor his guiding hand felt in the laboratory. His 
pupils remained Schwann was at Liege, Henle at Gottingen, 
Kolliker at Wurzburg, Brucke and Ludwig at Vienna, Wil- 
helm His at Basel, Virchow at Berlin but their teacher had 
left them. Johannes Miiller was dead, but the work must go 
on, and mighty Berlin turned its eyes towards the town of 
Gottingen, where now dwelt Germany's greatest anatomist, 
Jacob Henle. The times had changed, for the city which had 
thrust the youth into prison, invited the man to enter its uni- 
versity as Johannes Muller's successor. When Pfeufer read 
in the newspapers that Henle had received the offer from 
Berlin, his emotions were on edge, and he immediately wrote 
to Henle asking him if he intended to accept, and assuring 
him that though he might conclude his life with more content- 
ment in Gottingen, yet it was certain that he belonged in Ber- 
lin. Without delay, Henle replied to his most intimate friend : 

It is true I received an offer from Berlin, as brilliant as possible, 
purely for anatomy, with a to-be-newly-constructed building, with a 
prosector of my own choice, with a seat in the faculty and at the 
state examinations and I have rejected it Not without a great mental 
struggle; but on what solid basis my final decision was founded was 


proven to me when I read your letter, which in spite of the fact that I 
have always valued you as an authority in practical matters, could not 
shake my peace of mind. How much I would have liked to have gone 
for advice to my old friend! The matter was left entirely to me, as not 
even my wife would give a sign of what preference she felt, and the 
Berlin Geheimrath who unexpectedly crashed in on me with this offer 
like a bomb, insisted on coming back for my answer on the following 
day, and could only be persuaded to depart when I gave him my assur- 
ance that I would forward my decision within forty-eight hours. 

You may voice your objections that I permitted myself to be so 
hurried. I however, wished that the Prussians should not lose more 
time than necessary, as I felt from the outset that their efforts to get 
me would be unsuccessful. I am greatly attached to Gottingen; I felt 
at home here from the first moment; every change that has occurred 
has made my position more comfortable; and I can surely count upon 
it that it will be the same in the future, and that in any matter con- 
cerning the university I shall have a decisive voice. I contemplated 
M tiller's position without the slightest envy, while he, on the other hand, 
called my position a more enviable one. Why should then, the accident 
of his untimely death give me an incentive to see if I could not have 
things better than I already have them? 

The great city and its manifold contacts do not possess the same 
attraction for me as they do for you; it is probably the result of my 
provincial origin that the bustle of strange and stiff people makes an 
unpleasant impression upon me, and that I find more comfort in the 
quietude in which our life flows on here, under the shadow of our trees 
and among a few everyday friends. Besides, you must not draw a 
parallel between Berlin and Munich, and between Gottingen and any 
other small town. For Munich has, besides all the agreeableness of a 
large city, still many congenial rural elements, which Berlin lacks, and 
Gottingen is more a country seat for a number of professors and stu- 
dents than a small town. If we gradually appropriate das Geschmaeckle 
of which you speak, we do not notice it upon each other, and if it is ap- 
parent to our friends from large cities, whom we unfortunately meet 


but seldom and but for a few days we must hope that they like us well 
enough to put up with it. 

If I felt some of that self-confidence, with which I would have gone 
into Parliament in 1848, if my leg had permitted me to stand up at the 
time, I would consider it my duty to become the citizen of a state, which 
after all, is the dominant factor in German affairs. But I have not yet 
forgotten, how at the time, it was not my wit, but merely my misfortune, 
that saved me from compromising myself. That I can bring up my 
children here physically stronger and mentally less blase than would be 
the case in Berlin, I know for certain. And for me the reflection over 
going or remaining was merely a struggle between inclination and duty. 
Whether it was right for me to withdraw myself from such an important 
and influential post, with great resources, and participate in the list of 
a tournament to which I was called, I shall have to justify myself be- 
fore my conscience and my friends whose eyes are focussed upon me. 

How alone I would have stood! Was it not characteristic that not 
the slightest hint, not a friendly word of persuasion from the lap of the 
faculty, or from other friends, preceded the arrival of the Berlin media- 
tor? Could I be indifferent to the fact that since leaving Berlin, I 
received not the slightest mark of distinction from the medical societies 
that spring up there, and that the Berlin Academy purposely avoids 
me? Though I am not in the habit of imagining things, still it seemed 
1 to me quite clear that I made myself unavoidable through my book, 
and that I was proposed and expected as the inevitable one. And Fr. 
who was supposed to have dished out the gravy, belongs to those who 
will not forgive me because I did not wait for the physicians to clean 
out the pathological stall. . . 

Could I, without flattering myself, hope to exercise influence upon 
the course of studies in Prussia? Dear friend, we both know that we, 
with united forces and in younger and more spirited years, were unsuc- 
cessful with the subdual of a less tough dough. A man of M tiller's 
importance had difficulty enough, and had to, often play his highest 
trump to remain unattacked in his own field. This is, and we have 
often acknowledged it, not my terrain, and a man of fifty years should 


not deceive himself into imagining that through transplantation into 
a new soil, he can acquire new qualities. I live chiefly to please myself, 
and believe myself to be useful to others if I give to the world the 
results of my quiet musing. 

To satisfy this passion, there is no place more suitable than Gottin- 
gen. Were I to go to Berlin, I would have interrupted my work for a 
few years, first because of the removal and then because of the work 
incidental to the building up of a new collection. How terribly Miiller 
had often sighed over the burden of the state examinations, which took 
up, year in and year out, so much of his time. Forgive this long expo- 
sition. But as you do not know either Gottingen or Berlin in their 
modern phases, the matter could not be explained briefly. Verbally, I 
could even say much more. Could you but glance into our activities! 
You would not wish to live here, but you would understand why others 
feel themselves so attached. 

Until he came to Gottingen, Henle was a peripatetic: six 
years he was Mullet's prosector in Berlin, four years profes- 
sor in Zurich, and for eight years professor in Heidelberg 
but for the remaining thirty-three years of his life he was set- 
tled. It was Reichert who went to Berlin as Miiller's anatom- 
ical heir. Henle remained in Gottingen, cultivated his garden, 
paid the mortgage on his house, and worked on his master- 
piece, The Handbook of Systematic Anatomy. 


In 1866 a year famous for its quarrels Bismarck and 
King George could not agree, and Bismarck characteristically 
ended the argument by annexing Hanover. By this act of 
absorption, the University of Gottingen ceased to stand apart 
in cloister-like aloofness, for its faculty automatically became 
members of the University Society of Prussia. Henle had 
refused to come to Prussia, but Prussia had come to Henle. 

The new state of affairs divided Hanover into those who 
favored the annexation, and those who disapproved, and in 
the factional disputes that naturally followed, many old friend- 
ships were broken. Henle was at all times opposed to Bis- 
marck's internal policy, and bitterly resented the statesman's 
present tactics, and therefore five professors resigned from his 
Friday club. For some time to come, at the least provocation, 
Gottingen was split into Prussians and Hanoverians; for ex- 
ample, in 1868, Henle's son Karl, arranged a ball at the 
museum, and a sleigh-party comprised of students and young 
ladies. They rode out into a storm that traveled straight to 
the door of father Henle, who thus explained the cause of the 
tempest : 



The sleighing party which took place a few weeks ago and tne 
dance that followed, resulted in a complaint of the police-director to 
the pro-rector, wherein he summed up the sleighing party under the 
heading of 'gathering under free skies,' for which the police is to grant 
permission forty-eight hours in advance. It required much paper to 
convince the bone-headed bureaucrats that you could not order snow 
to remain on the ground for forty-eight hours. 

Another and much worse excitement, which extended even to the 
lowest strata of society, and which once more divided the city into 
Prussians and Hanoverians, was the ball arranged in the Museum by 
Karl and his friends. It required a general meeting of 120 earnest men 
to decide in a conference, whether there is a difference between a feast 
and a ball, and whether the feast could only be arranged by private 
individuals and the ball only by the director. To speak more correctly, 
they merely seemed to hold this conference, for its actual purpose was 
the official assassination of the present director. I shall, therefore, like 
Bismarck, be more constitutional than is expected, and shall resign the 
post which for seven years deprived me of much time, and during the 
past two years caused me much aggravation, and was only of value to 
me in so far as I had the disposal of the hall at my command, and was 
able to invite artists here and keep in touch with them. 

Henle sought relief from these agitations by an excursion 
to Upper Bavaria. Tourists who visited the Tegernsee dur- 
ing the fall of 1869, were apt to come across a quintet whose 
hair was grey, but who chatted together with all the abandon 
of youth. Many years had passed since the dissolution of the 
Heidelberg circle, but now Henle, Pfeufer, Jolly, Gervinus 
and the orientalist Hitzig were together again, reveling in the 
beauty of the mountain-lake and in the luxury of old mem- 
ories. Towards the end of the vacation, when Henle and 


Pfeufer clasped hands with the love of thirty years between 
them, they promised each other to meet again next year; 
three days later, word was brought to Henle, that Pfeufer, 
while journeying to the Achensee with his wife and daughter, 
dropped dead in the boat. Henle wrote to his sister: 

Those were three wonderful weeks which I spent with my old 
friend. Never since we left Heidelberg to go in different directions, 
did we associate with each other so long and so uninterruptedly. Al- 
though the lake lay between our residences, we were together every day 
and usually twice a day. In the morning I had myself rowed over, and 
at noon his daughter rowed me back in a boat which she had hired. 
In the afternoon, we generally met together with our retinues on some 
beautiful spot whereto we went on foot, and Pfeufer in his carriage. 
Then I had to sit at his side while his grandchildren and my children 
played around us, and from time to time he would send me away to 
talk to his wife, who found it painful when she did not hear me. 

We spoke of everything our science, our politics, our families; 
it seemed as though I was to carry with me the conviction that we 
were of one mind in everything. He suffered somewhat from asthma, 
was more sluggish in his movements than before, tired easier, but men- 
tally was as fresh and alive as ever. He did not think of any danger; 
his concern was chiefly that he would become too weak for his teach- 
ing activities, as the clinic exhausted him and the crowds of hearers in 
the hospital rooms oppressed him. He contemplated giving up the 
clinic. He still felt strong enough for lectures and for his office. We 
parted with the understanding to meet again next fall in a different 
place, for though we found Tegernsee charming, we had already drained 
its beauties. 

Three days later, he was dead. His death was such as he wished 
for himself and for me, for he said this in a letter which he wrote to me 


after our father's death. We cannot bemoan his fate; the autopsy 
showed that he had been approaching an unforboded serious affliction 
But the situation of the wife and daughter who returned from a trip so 
joyously undertaken, with the corpse at the bottom of the boat! We 
received the sad news in Munich at the art exhibition. The distraction 
of the return journey, the life in the overfilled family house in Niirn- 
berg, the pleasure in seeing the sisters in Mainz in good health, helped 
me to bear the first pangs of the grief. Now when I find myself in the 
old familiar rooms, I first feel how much the absent friend was tied up 
with all my doing and thinking. 

Henle kept a bust of the departed upon his desk, and 
Merkel says that many a hallowed glance fell upon it. Henle 
wrote to Pfeufer's widow: 

That our dear friend is unforgettable and that the breach which 
his death created can never be filled, I feel as much as you do. To me 
too, the world looks changed since I miss the heart which shared all my 
joys and sorrows, and I no longer can hope to give him pleasure by my 
work and draw from him a word of approbation. How vague every- 
thing seems that remains to me of friends, besides the memory of this 
one! You may, therefore, be certain that I find your laments justified, 
and that I shall never tire of hearing them as long as you feel the need 
to express them. There is a certain equalization of justice in this, that 
whoever had the happiness of possessing such a man as you did, must 
also accept the danger of the terrible contrast which death creates. 
But who would, because of this danger, place a limit upon such happi- 
ness ! And when parting must come, there is no better consolation than 
the knowledge that nothing in happiness had been missed. 

In this same year, our much-quoted Friedrich Siegmund 
Merkel, who was then a young doctor of twenty-four, arrived 


from Erlangen to become Henle's prosector in Gottingen, and 
showed devotion not only to the master's system of anatomy, 
but to his daughter Anna, and thus Henle acquired his first 
son-in-law. Merkel later became professor at Rostock and 
then at Konigsberg; he wrote numerous anatomical articles 
and pamphlets, among his chief contributions being his trea- 
tise on topographical anatomy, and his description of the tac- 
tile corpuscles of the papillae of the skin. Merkel edited suc- 
cessive editions of Henle's Ground-plan of Anatomy. It has 
been asserted that sons-in-law make the best biographers, 
and Merkel's life of Henle has proved indispensable to the 
present writer. 

Henle's fourth daughter, Emma, and his second son, 
Adolf, were born at Gottingen. During the seventies, three 
more of Henle's children Karl, Sophie, and Elise were mar- 
ried. Grandchildren added to his joys, except when death 
chose infancy as its untimely victim. But sunny countenances 
were the usual visitors to the patriarch's fireside. When 
trouble came to any members of the household, they instinc- 
tively turned to Henle, and the hand that might have been 
penning an immortal idea a moment ago, would be kindly 
stretched forth to comfort a child's distress. Fame never 
disarranged Henle's simplicity. Sitting at his desk until ten 
o'clock, teaching for the remainder of the morning and part 
of the afternoon, a post-prandial application to belles-lettres 
followed by devotion to science until supper-time, then smok- 
ing a cigar while his wife read a novel and his daughters 
busied themselves with needlework, and back to his desk 
again where he worked until midnight, finding his recreation 
in his musical and literary circles, his days flowed peacefully 


on, and for long periods he moved merely between his home 
and the anatomy building. The spring of Henle's life was 
stormy, but its winter was mild. Tranquility was the key- 
note of his venerable years. 

During 1882, three of Henle's eminent friends, the nov- 
elist Auerbach, the chemist Wb'hler, and the histologist 
Schwann, passed away. The old Henle immediately prepared 
a standard memoir of Theodor Schwann, the co-worker of his 
youth, living again through the stirring days when he and 
Schwann moved into one house and reconstructed biology. 
Henle received his diploma in 1832 and it was now 1882 a 
span of half a century. The fiftieth anniversary was on the 
fourth of April, and on that day glad outbursts of music were 
heard near Henle's home the Gottingen militia's serenade; 
the chief burgomaster delivered the town's greetings, the stu- 
dents presented their teacher with a golden laurel wreath, and 
in the celebrations that followed, Henle saw before him some 
of the most distinguished scientists of Germany. It was the 
master's Jubilee, and his former pupils came from their aca- 
demic chairs to honor him. Kolliker prepared a noble ad- 
dress, signed by great names, in which he said: 

You celebrate to-day the day on which just fifty years ago, you 
delivered your famous dissertation De membrana pupillari, and upon 
which you received your doctor's degree. This day is not only a day of 
honor for you, but a great joy for all who ever stood close to you. 
Permit us then, your one-time pupils and now your colleagues, to offer 
to you our sincere esteem and our gratitude. 

A worthy pupil and friend of Johannes M tiller, you followed him 
first into the field of comparative anatomy, but only to soon go your 



own way. With full recognition that the work of Schleiden and 
Schwann, based upon the groundwork of Bichat, had to be upbuilt and 
reconstructed, you created your General Anatomy, a scientific work of 
the highest importance, which in truth was to become the keynote of 
your future work, Conspicuous from the beginning, through its abund- 
ance of facts and ideas, through the masterful discussion of the physi- 
ological activity of tissue on the ground of their anatomical structure, 
and through the careful and just valuation of previous works, this work 
will remain for all times, a paragon. With the complete understanding 
that physiology is the foundation of pathology, you erected for yourself 
in this field an indestructible monument by your Pathological Researches 
in which you foretold, with great keenness, the latest developments in 
the theory of epidemic diseases. Besides this, your Anthropological 
Lectures, and the Journal of Rational Medicine which was founded by 
you and Pfeufer and continued for more than two decades, also your 
Yearly Reports, bear brilliant testimony to your vigorous and fruitful 

The climax, however, of your achievements are your researches in 
the field of human anatomy, and it is here where your extraordinary 
talent shines triumphant, not only in the way your discoveries were 
made, but also the manner in which they were presented. In fact, your 
Handbook of Systematic Anatomy is recognized as the sole work of its 
kind, raising the ancient and supposedly final anatomical sciences to an 
unprecedented degree of perfection, which must serve as a foundation 
for all future builders. 

The picture of your manifold and unusual labors would still remain 
incomplete, if we were to omit mention of your activity as an academic 
teacher, and in this field we, your pupils and colleagues, are competent 
judges. There was no one more eloquent, clearer in presentation, 
deeper in thought and conviction, and in these respects you will always 


be to us an unattainable example. Accept then, much-beloved and 
highly revered master, our sincerest thanks, for all that you have meant 
to science and to us! Accept our best wishes for the glorious event 
which you celebrate to-day, and permit us to give expressions to our 
hopes, that there may remain to you many years of great happiness and 
blessed work. 

Of the numerous other addresses, the best remembered 
is the one from the medical faculty of Kiel, which began with 
the remark that their greeting was not an isolated word out 
of the large sum of gratitude which had been coming to him 
for the past fifty years, for physicians and research-workers 
without number owed to him their education and inspiration. 
The characteristic Festschrift, the university of Gottingen's 
commission to the sculptor Hartzer for a bust of Henle to 
stand in the vestibule of their anatomical building, the decora- 
tions from various states including the government of Prussia, 
were other tokens of esteem which marked this jubilee. Hen- 
le's alarm that he was being honored beyond his merits, com- 
bined with his naive pleasure at the constant stream of well- 
wishers and the ever-accumulating messages of congratula- 
tion, added to the sincerity and geniality of the celebration. 

After the elaborate public entertainment was over, Henle's 
children and grandchildren gathered around him, and in their 
midst, decorated only with the "Jocose order of the patriarch," 
he was most content. To this inner group a few chosen 
friends were invited, among them being Henle's illustrious 
pupil, Wilhelm Waldeyer, who has given us this exquisite 
picture : 

Another beautiful phase of his being was his love and highly- 


developed devotion to his family. Whoever had an opportunity of 
seeing him in the circle of his family, will never forget how well Henle 
understood to make his dear ones happy. It was then that his warm 
heart, his delightful sense of humor showed itself. I found him thus 
in the spring of 1882, when he afforded me the pleasure, after the official 
days of his Jubilee, were over, of inviting me to a celebration in his 
most intimate family circle, and also a year later in Herrenalb, where 
he and his family were spending their vacation, and I was tramping 
through the Schwarzwald. These days will remain unforgotten; and 
as he was then unbroken, so he remained to the very end. 

Unbroken but not unbowed, for the autumn of 1884 found 
Henle a sick man. Yet throughout the winter semester, even 
when the physical agony of intercostal neuralgia forced him 
to resort to morphine, that flashing eye and winning tone still 
captivated the student-youth of Gottingen. Not till the offi- 
cial vacation began, did he seek relief but what can Baden- 
Baden do for a renal sarcoma with metastasis in the vertebral 
column? Henle re-discovered the kidneys, but his own kid- 
neys killed him. Upon his death-bed he spoke cheerfully and 
consolingly to his wife and children to the end the thirteenth 
of May, 1885. 

On that day, the curtain descended upon a career of dra- 
matic completeness, for it opened with a prison and ended 
with a jubilee. No longer would the students see their "old 
Jacob," and son-in-law Merkel was called from Koningsberg 
to become the anatomist of Gottingen and here, in his sacred 
hours, he enshrined in his book the imperishable name of 
Jacob Henle. 



Henle's history does not end with his death, for though 
the man is dead, his work endures. Henle's first contribution 
to science was his dissertation on the membrana pupillaris 
(1832), by which he increased our knowledge of the embry- 
ology of the eye. The organ of vision continued to attract 
Henle: he described the histology of the retina (1839), its 
anatomy (1864), the physiology of the lachrymal canal (1865), 
the fibres of the crystalline lens (1875), the construction of 
the lens (1878), and its development (1882). As a result of 
these studies, we have several eponyms. Within the palpebral 
conjunctiva, Henle found structures resembling lymph folli- 
cles whcih are now known as the trachoma glands of Henle, 
or the aggregated glands of Bruch. This discovery was re- 
sponsible for an ophthalmological puzzle, for it is still un- 
decided whether these glands are normal or pathologic. The 
lamina basalis which forms the inner boundary of the choroid 
is known both as Bruch's layer and as Henle's membrane. 
The zone of cone-fibres and rod-fibres in the region of the 
macula lutea, bears the name of Henle's fibrous layer. The 
retinal layers exclusive of the rod-and-cone layer are known as 
Briicke's tunica nervea or Henle's stratum nerveum. The 



masses on the cornea, near the border of Descemet's mem- 
brane, are Henle's warts. After witnessing an execution, 
Henle wrote "Experiments and Observations on a Decapi- 
tated Person" (1852), which states his discovery that the yel- 
low spot contains no rods but cones only. 

During Henle's early years in Berlin, the medical faculty 
was preparing the Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Medical 
Sciences, and Henle was commissioned to write the articles 
on albumin, olein, epidermis, epithelium, eructation, excreta, 
sepsis (1834), falx cerebri and cerebelli, fibro-cartilage, fibrin, 
fauces, fat, yawning, goose-flesh, gall-bladder (1835), vascular 
glands, sense of hearing (1836), hallucinations (1837). He 
wrote also for Froriep's Notices, Hufeland's Journal, Wieg- 
mann's Archives, Casper's Weekly, Oken's Isis, and the Eng- 
lish Magazine of Natural History, but most of his work during 
the Berlin period was published in the journal with which he 
was himself connected Miiller's Archiv. His contributions 
to these periodicals included his observations on the acque- 
ductus vestibuli and cochlea (1834), Owen's trichina spiralis 
in human muscle (1835), musculus spinalis cervicis in man 
(1837), mucus and pus formation, extension of epithelium in 
the human body, the retention of memory in the special senses 
(1838), the microscopic elements of milk, the construction of 
glands (1839), the contractility of vessels, dropsy, and the 
structure and formation of the human hair (1840). The outer 
cellular layer of the inner root-sheath of the hair follicle, sur- 
rounding the layer of Huxley, is known as Henle's layer. 

After the suave Humboldt succeeded in persuading the 
Prussian government that its institutions were safe even with 
the conspirator Henle out of prison, Henle produced his 


habilitation-thesis, Symbolae ad anatomiam villorum intesti- 
nalium imprimis eorum epithelii et vasorum lacteorum (1837). 
With this treatise the modern knowledge of the epithelial 
tissues begins, and the young man of twenty-eight was among 
the immortals. In these researches, although they were con- 
ducted with nothing better than a Schieck microscope, the 
investigator established names which have become permanent 
parts of histology, such as pavement epithelium and cylinder 
epithelium, and was the first to define columnar and ciliated 
epithelium, and the first to describe the stratum mucosum of 
the epidermis, and the intestinal epithelia. His pronounce- 
ment, in the following year, that "all free surfaces of the body, 
and all the inner surfaces of its tubes and canals, and all the 
wall of its cavities, are lined with epithelium," was one of 
the most momentous generalizations of the century, and it 
paved the way for the far-reaching cell-theory of Schleiden and 
Schwann, which in turn prepared the path for the Darwinian 
theory. Henle is the first author mentioned by Schwann, and 
on account of the fundamental importance of Schwann's work 
on the cell-theory which, like Henle's researches on the 
epithelium, originated in the lodging-house at Number 66 
Friedrichstrasse we will quote some of Schwann's references 
from his "Microscopical Researches into the Accordance in 
the Structure and Growth of Animals and Plants" (1839) : 

A very important advance was made in the year 1837, when an 
actual growth of the elementary particles of epithelium was proved to 
take place without vessels. Henle showed that the cells in the super- 
ficial layers of epithelium are much more expanded than those in the 


deeper strata, a fact which leaves scarcely any doubt as to tiieir true 
plant-like that is, non-vascular growth. 

There is another observation of Henle's, which is opposed to the 
epithelium being regarded as a lifeless substance secreted from the 
organized tissue; I allude to the passage where he proved that the 
vibratile cilia, whose motion it is so difficult to explain by physical 
laws, stand upon little cylinders which are merely a modification of 
the epithelium. 

It often occurs that the tabular epithelial cells are not regularly 
hexagonal, but represent flat elongated stripes, a fact which has been 
observed by Henle in the epithelium of the vessels. The cells which 
are prolonged into cylinders constitute the other modification in the 
form of the epithelial cells. They were discovered by Henle in the 
intestinal mucous membrane. 

With regard to the formation of the epithelial cells, Henle has 
already proved the rete Malpighii to consist of round nucleated cells, 
probably the young epidermal cells, and also that the diameter of the 
cells increases towards the outside, so that in the fetal pig he was 
enabled to trace the gradual transition of the cells of the rete Malpighii 
into those of the epidermis. 

Henle's treatises on the Narcine, a new kind of electric 
ray (1834), on the Branchiobdella and on the explanation of 
the sexual organs of the Annelida and hermaphroditic snails 
(1835), on the Enchytraeus, a new annelid (1837), and on the 
larynx, with special consideration of the larynx of reptiles 
(1839) constitute his independent work in comparative anat- 
omy. In the important monograph on the larynx which 
aroused the enthusiasm of old Humboldt Henle traced the 
development of the organ of voice from the simple cartilage- 


strip in the Proteus to the complex structure in higher ani- 
mals, saying in the introduction : 

As our knowledge regarding the development of the larynx and 
the significance of its individual parts is still very incomplete, and in 
fact, the origin and gradual development of the larynx in the embryos 
of the highest animals is so difficult to follow, I determined to undertake 
a comparative-anatomical research of this organ, in the hope of showing 
the various degrees of development in the different organisms, gradu- 
ating from the lowest to the highest. In this sense, I have given a 
zootomical description of the larynx in the form of the story of its 

It is one of the oddities of science that these words 
should have been written twenty years prior to the publica- 
tion of the Origin of Species, and by a man who was never 
reconciled to Darwinism. 

All of Henle's work in comparative anatomy was accom- 
plished under the influence of Johannes Miiller, with whom he 
collaborated in the systematic description of the Plagiostomi. 
Miiller, who was a great student of fish, already knew the 
Plagiostomi through his study of the Myxine and Petromyzon, 
while Henle was familiar with the subject on account of his 
Narcine investigation, and when a barrel of Sicilian fish was 
opened in the Berlin museum at the same time that a collec- 
tion of India fishes arrived, both scientists found many in- 
teresting points to discuss, and decided to systematize and 
extend the data on sharks and rays. As the material in Berlin, 
although extensive, was inadequate for their purpose, they 
journeyed to Rotterdam and Leyden, and later to London, 
everywhere accumulating scientific friends and treasures. In 


London they became greatly attached to the Owen family, 
and while the distinguished Sir Richard painted Miiller's 
portrait, Henle improved the German of Mrs. Owen the 
cleverest of female diarists. After leaving England, the trav- 
elers separated in the interest of the investigation, Henle 
going to Frankfurt, and Miiller proceeding to Paris. 

When they met again in Berlin, both had numerous ob- 
servations and discoveries to report, and prepared their manu- 
scripts for the press. In order to insure the publisher against 
loss, the authors agreed to purchase twenty copies annually 
as long as a deficit remained. "The Systematic Description 
of the Plagiostomi" (1838-41) was certainly a splendid piece 
of research, but as the Plagiostomi didn't read it, and as few 
human beings did, and as the practical publisher demanded 
that the contract be fulfilled with scientific exactitude, Miiller 
and Henle, in the course of years, possessed scores of copies 
of their mutual masterpiece. 

During Henle's last year in Berlin, his "Pathological Re- 
searches" (1840) appeared. In the brilliant essay on fevers 
he dethroned the archaeus of Helmont and the sensitive soul 
of Stahl, and offered a rational explanation of elevated body- 
temperature. But the feature of the book was the essay on 
"Miasms and Contagia," which laid the foundation of the 
germ-theory of disease, as it contains the first clear state- 
ment, in modern terms, that infectious diseases are due to 
specific microorganisms. Henle said that if these organisms 
are invisible, it is not because of their extraordinary small- 
ness, but because they differ so little from the tissues in which 
they are imbedded, that they remain unrecognizable. The 


predictions which Henle made in 1840 were fulfilled, more 
than forty years afterward, by his pupil, Robert Koch. When 
the stain was introduced into bacteriology, Henle was hailed 
as a prophet but in the Berlin days, when Henle and Hirsch- 
wald met for the last time, the publisher complained that 
the entire edition of "Pathological Researches" was still on 
his hands. 

After his removal to Zurich, Henle discovered the De- 
modex folliculorum (1841), the ubiquitous pimple-mite which 
presides over spoilt complexions. But as Henle mistook the 
rear end of the parasite for its head, he was not particularly 
proud when this acarus was mentioned, and although he 
later wrote on the gregarines, the parasites of invertebrates 
(1845), he was never completely at home in Johannes Miiller's 
domain of zoology and comparative anatomy. As the mas- 
ter's welcoming and guiding hand was now lacking, Henle 
turned to a field where he had few compeers human ana- 
tomy. In a communication to Schoell, he says: 

With infinite joy, I now write my Handbook of General Anatomy. 
It is splendid to cast away a few old prejudices and to watch how 
here and there a light, or at least, the twilight, breaks through, and how 
a new principle substantiates itself in a newly founded fact. And now I 
work faster than in the olden times when I had to run in to you every 
two hours or so, with a half page of my Contagia. You had to stand a 
great deal from me in those days, but I have profited much, and know, 
therefore, that you are not regretting it. I was, in those days, almost 
too modest, but I believed implicitly, that which to me appeared abso- 
lute and vital, must surely have already occurred to other sensible 
people. Now when in spite of all the mistrust against me, and in spite 
of my wish to agree with the majority, I daily find fresh confirmation 


or refute them, I feel more comfortable and I learn to proceed without 

My book creates sensation enough, and the critics find two ways 
of dealing with it: some sing me all sorts of praise, but find this and 
that to be startling, and believe that this and that holds entirely too 
fast to need to be defended against my attacks; if we were to do so and 
so, then there would remain little that was certain. Others belittle me 
in the very beginning, and hold me up as a warning example why a 
theoretician should not treat of practical things, and then believing they 
have accomplished enough, they concede the details, step by step, or 
break their teeth on it. Only a few, young, sanguine, and still un- 
occupied people, gape with open mouths, and on these my hopes are 

Aside from its new facts, such as the demonstration of 
unstriped muscle in the endothelial coats of the lesser arteries, 
the broad conceptions and the new principles enunciated in 
Henle's "General Anatomy," made its publication the most 
important medical event of the year 1841. Bichat was sur- 
passed, and science acclaimed a new master. "To us young 
medical men," wrote Kussmaul, "a new world opened up 
through Henle's General Anatomy. It holds its readers almost 
more by the vistas it suggests, than by what already exists. 
Curiosity drove me to read the book, and the impression 
which it made upon me I can only compare with which I 
received on reading Liebig's works, and I began, just as I 
did with the latter, to commit the vital parts of the contents 
to memory." Of the numerous encomiums which this work 
has received, none is more illuminating than the tribute of 
Walther Flemming, one of the greatest names in cytology, 
author of the aphorism, Omnis nucleus e nucleo: 


It was Henle, who in his researches and studies on epithelium, 
made the most important references to the cellular construction of 
animal tissue. How deeply he became absorbed in the general problem 
of the cell theory is plainly evident from the fact that two years after 
the publication of Schwann's book, he published his General Anatomy; 
and one may say that this contained the first real, rational tissue theory 
of the animal body, so comprehensive and many-sided, that it earned the 
admiration of the entire biological world. If I may use a paradox, it 
is not a work which can be accomplished in two years, and it shows 
that Henle occupied himself with animal tissue in the sense of the cell 
theory, long before it was proclaimed. 

During his latter days in Zurich, Henle collaborated 
with Kolliker in the publication of a monograph on the Pa- 
cinian bodies (1844), and in this year appeared the first vo- 
lume of Henle and Pfeufer's/oi/rna/ of Rational Medicine 
(1844-69). The contents opened with Henle's belligerent 
manifesto on Medical Science and Empiricism, and early is- 
sues of the magazine contained his essays on hypertrophy 
and tumors through checked resorption, wherein he explain- 
ed the relationship between the blood and lymph streams, 
and on tonus, cramp and paralysis of the bronchi and ex- 
pe"ctoration, which was valuable for its observations on the 
physiology and pathology of breathing, and for its demon- 
stration of the contractility of the bronchi through the action 
of the smooth musculature. The journal grew in influence, 
and to later numbers Henle contributed his observations on 
cylindroma-siphonoma, a new genus of tumor (1845), on the 
absorption of narcotics through the lymphatics (1846), on 
blood analyses, on Hassall's corpuscles (1849), on the cora- 
cobrachialis muscle (1857), on the tissues of the suprarenals 


and hypophysis cerebri (1865). The Journal of Rational 
Medicine existed for twenty-five years, and upon the death of 
Pfeufer, Henle closed the magazine's career with the words: 
"If our successes were helpful, if our errors served as warn- 
ings, then the flag of Rational Medicine has not waved in 

Apart from his periodical editorship, Henle was the an- 
nual reviewer of medical progress, a task which was begun 
in Berlin, and extended through the Heidelberg period, far 
into the Gottingen times. These Yearly Reports were on 
the progress of physiology, pathology and pathological ana- 
tomy (1838-9), on pathology (1845-6), on histology (1844-8), 
and on general and special anatomy (1849-55). The anato- 
mical reports were published in Canstatt's Yearly Reports 
until the publication passed into the hands of Virchow, and 
Henle then continued these annual summaries of anatomy in 
Henle and Meissner's Yearly Reports (1856-71). "One of 
Henle's most important activities," said Leyden, "were his 
Yearly Reports, a literary creation which ranks exceptionally 
high, and is practically the only one of its kind. These Yearly 
Reports were always looked forward to with great expecta- 

Even as an annual reporter, Henle was too much alive 
to be tedious, and if his Yearly Reports were not as calmly 
indifferent as Hofmann-Schwalbe's, they were far more read- 
able and stimulating. To offer simply the bare facts, to 
abstract all the articles on a given subject and put down the 
data without interpretation or comment, to present the status 
of every topic with the routine impartiality of an index- 


catalog, did not accord with Henle's idea of what an annual 
report should be. He could not help becoming incensed at 
statements which he knew to be unwarranted, and work which 
he regarded as significant, aroused his enthusiasm. If cer- 
tain points seemed dubious, Henle laid aside the pen, and 
his scalpel or microscope either confirmed or confuted the 
author he was reporting. 

These reports became famous for their commentary, and 
it is said that toward spring, at which time they appeared, 
there was an annual uneasiness among authors, and they 
turned the pages with shaky fingers to see how they had 
passed the censorship of so keen a critic. "It is not of so 
much importance," said Henle, "to write up pathologico- 
anatomical facts; in this direction our report does not even 
pretend to be complete, as it does not comprise all the scat- 
tered and so-called interesting instances. On the other hand, 
I am endeavoring to group together those discoveries which 
promise to disclose facts regarding the nature and organic 
foundation of disease phenomena, as well as experiments 
which are made in order to bring the connection of the pheno- 
mena upon the path indicated by physiology. As there are 
not only facts to be taken into consideration, but also the 
mode of the connection, theory and polemic cannot be avoid- 
ed." In the numerous tilts that ensued, Henle was not in- 
variably the victor. Virchow maintained that connective 
tissue contains fully developed cells with all their attributes, 
while Henle insisted that only the nuclei were present, and 
that what Virchow mistook for complete cells were optical 
delusions. He wrote: 


These optical delusions bring to mind the kind of pictures, which 
were rather widely distributed after Napoleon's death. At first glance, 
one sees an urn, and over it a drooping willow tree, and between the 
two a low cypress; if, however, one looks at the white space which 
these three objects create, one recognizes the profile of the figure of 
Napoleon, and once we are accustomed to contemplate the white sil- 
houette which surrounds the pictures, they themselves become mean- 
ingless. Virchow's connective tissue corpuscles are vacant spaces, sur- 
rounded by fibres or strata, which one overlooks or considers a homo- 
genous mass when one becomes absorbed in contemplating the vacant 

In this dispute, Henle went down beneath the lance of 
his junior, but the above-quoted paragraph is evidence that 
Jacob Henle was delightful even when he was wrong. It is 
due largely to these Yearly Reports that Henle's books are 
so rich in references to the history and literature of the medi- 
cal sciences. 

Henle's chief contribution to pathology was his "Hand- 
book of Rational Pathology" (1846-53). It is the product 
of an intellectual revolutionist, and not only did it over- 
throw antiquated systems, but it brought forward certain 
speculations whose utility had not been fully established. 
To those who argued that we should cling to the old dead 
theories until the new ones proved to be of permanent value, 
Henle proposed the following parable: 

A pedant owned a nightingale for a long time, and had great 
pleasure in its song. Then the bird died. The pedant found the 
silence unpleasant, and went out to purchase another bird. There were 
but a few pilfered nests in the market, and the vendors did not know 
whether the eggs were fertile, or at least would not guarantee that 


male birds would hatch; then too, the brood would require much atten- 
tion before they grew up to be singers. The pedant thought this to be 
too risky, and he went away saying that he would rather keep his dead 
nightingale. This was conservative, but to what purpose? That the 
care might be wasted on the young brood was possible, but that the 
dead nightingale would never sing was certain. 

Written in a graceful and brilliant style, opening with 
the dictum, "The duty of the Physician is to prevent and to 
cure diseases," studded with such epigrams as "The day of 
the last hypothesis would be also the day of the last observa- 
tion," and "An hypothesis which becomes dispossessed by 
new facts, dies an honorable death; and if it has already call- 
ed up for examination those truths by which it was anni- 
hilated, it deserves a monument of gratitude," laughing the 
medical devil out of existence and establishing rational con- 
cepts of disease, the Handbook of Rational Pathology created 
a sensation, and what made it of epochal importance was 
its cardinal principle: "The physiology of the sick and of 
the healthy are not different, physiology and pathology are 
one." As Walther Flemming said: 

There is no better testimonial of Henle's success than this: that 
the principles which he, as a pathologist, fought for, have become a 
part of us to such an extent that we forget there could ever have been 
an opposition. For who knows to-day much of the natural-philoso- 
phico-medical system, which was in vogue during Henle's youth? One 
has to question the elders, as the young have but little time to devote 
to the history of medicine. That the systems of those days are ancient 
and already belong to history, is largely due to Henle. His reform-cry, 


Rational Pathology and Physiology are identical, became the watch- 
word of all true physicians. 

Henle's anthropological lectures at Heidelberg were ex- 
ceedingly popular, and were attended not only by students of 
all the faculties, but by such men as the historian Gervinus 
and the Swiss Gottfried Keller, one of the foremost lyrists 
and novelists in German literature. Henle first met Keller 
in Switzerland, and remarked, "It was all one whether a 
tame young bear or a poet had been sitting at the table with 
us, for outside of some inarticulate growling, we heard noth- 
ing else from him." After hearing Henle's anthropological 
lectures, Keller interwove their essence into his chief novel, 
Der grune Heimich. In his old age, it gave Henle much 
pleasure to prepare his "Anthropological Lectures" (1876- 
80) for the press. 

After his settlement in Gottingen, when Henle felt that 
the time had come for his main work, he undertook a com- 
plete re-examination of the human body, a labor which he 
completed after sixteen years of unremitting toil; his osteo- 
logy (1855), was followed by syndesmology (1856), myology 
(1858), splanchnology (1862-66), and neurology (1871), 
these instalments comprising his three-volumed "Handbook 
of Systematic Anatomy" (1855-71), which was followed by 
an "Atlas" (1874-77), for use in the dissecting-room, and by 
a condensed presentation of the subject, "Ground-plan of 
Anatomy" (1880), later editions of which have been edited 
by Merkel. Upon the publication of the great textbook, 
Henle complained humorously that now he was compelled 


to teach according to Henle. The illustrations, whose num- 
ber and excellence impelled universal admiration, were drawn 
by Henle himself, and the language of the text was classic. 
"Henle," said Flemming, "was an orator with his pen as 
well as in his academic chair." Henle advocated a neutral, 
common-to-all, Latin terminology in science, saying "There 
are other means of expression of love for the fatherland and 
mother-tongue, than the sacrifice of time and tongue which 
makes one say, instead of n., a., and v. cruralis, schenkelnerv, 
schenkelpulsader, and schenkelblutader." Henle wrote on 
the disadvantage of eponymic terms in anatomy, but his own 
name is found on the bones, muscles, vessels and viscera of 
the human body; examples, besides those already mentioned, 
are Henle's spine, Henle's fissures, Henle's ligament, and 
Henle's fenestrated membrane. 

Special reference should be made to Henle's urogenital 
work. He discovered cylindric casts in the urine ; pointed out 
that varicocele is almost invariably left-sided; described the 
expanded outer half of the Fallopian tube, known as Henle's 
ampulla; the portion of the uriniferous tubule, known as the 
canal of Henle; the granular mononuclear cells in the semi- 
niferous tubules, known as Henle's cells; the fibrin formed 
by precipitating semen with water, known as Henle's fibrin; 
the remains of the gubernaculum surrounding the vas de- 
ferens and vessels of the spermatic cord, known as Henle's 
internal cremaster; and the striated muscular fibres encirc- 
ling the prostatic and membranous urethra, known as Henle's 
sphincter. But his most interesting find in this field was the 
U-shaped turn of the uriniferous tubule which is formed by 


a descending and an ascending loop-tube, known everywhere, 
as Henle's loop. Concerning this discovery, the fortunate 
Henle wrote one of his characteristic notes to Pfeufer: 

It is about time, my dear friend, that I inform you of the good 
fortune which has befallen me, of making a discovery in my old years, 
which is far more surprising and remarkable than any other heretofore 
made by me. Apart from the joy of having found something new in an 
organ a thousand times investigated and settled, I also enjoy the 
extraordinary satisfaction that my find is based on injection, and that 
the colleagues who credit me merely with the gift of the tongue, can 
no longer look down upon me from their injection-syringe. 

Henle's medico-historical knowledge was extensive, and 
he was intimate with many scientists who made history in 
the nineteenth century, but he produced only three biographic 
memoirs: on Albrecht von Haller (1872), on Ernst Heinrich 
Weber (1878), and on Theodor Schwann (1882). In the 
year of his jubilee, Henle's scientific work was nearing its 
close, but in that year a man whom he had trained, and who 
was deeply influenced by his theory of contagion, electrified 
the world by his discovery of the tubercle bacillus. Forty 
years earlier, Henle vainly searched for microorganisms in 
typhoid cadavers, in smallpox material, and in the scales of 
scarlatina, but by his fixing and staining methods, Robert 
Koch substantiated his teacher's theories by demonstrating 
bacillus after bacillus. 

Henle's last publication was appropriately in anatomy, 
a noteworthy monograph on the growth of the human nail 
and the horsehoof (1884). In sending a copy to Waldeyer, 
on the twenty-ninth of December, Henle wrote: 


Enclosed is the child of my ageing loins; it is a great pleasure for 
me to send you this, as it gives me an opportunity to renew our 
neglected correspondence, and to inquire as to the state of your health. 
I cannot say much for mine. Since the beginning of this semester, I 
worry along with a leftsided intercostal neuralgia, which I have been 
able to tame with morphium to the extent of being able to deliver my 
lectures. Besides the physical suffering, it also causes me great sorrow 
to find that it in no way conforms with my beautiful theory founded 
on the process of vena hemiazygos, as the exacerbations are evidently 
wholly independent of venous stagnations. . Under these conditions, the 
days of our external existence pass in quietude and monotony. 

In the coming spring, the old scientist reached the end 
of his journey, but before he passed from the sight of men, 
he had bequeathed to us the true knowledge of epithelium, 
the rational outlook upon pathology, the germ-theory on 
which we have built the corner-stone of modern medicine, 
and the most comprehensive study of the human body that 
had yet appeared. Sic itur ad astra, O Jacobus Henle! 

(The end) 


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